D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Wednesday extended the city’s stay-in-place order for residents and nonessential businesses until June 8 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, even as neighboring Maryland and Virginia ramp up to begin loosening such restrictions.
The order was set to expire Friday. Legislation passed by the D.C. Council in March gave the mayor authority to extend orders when she felt it necessary.
Bowser said she made her decision based on the city’s number of cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“I based my decision on data,” she said at a press briefing. “I can revise this order at anytime before June 8 if the metrics for reopening the city are met.”
Bowser said the benchmarks for ending the lockdown include a sustained decrease in community spread for 14 straight days and a low transmission rate for three continuous days. Other key metrics are testing, health care system and public health system capacities.
The mayor made it clear those metrics will dictate her decision to reopen the District for business, not the activities of neighboring jurisdictions.
“The data says when the phased reopening of the city will start,” she said.
Bowser also announced a pilot program for educational and academic retail shops for local businesses such as non-national bookstores to start tentatively on May 18. Under the pilot, these businesses will be able to offer customers curbside and front-door pickup service and they are required to keep and report data on their operations to the District government. The applications for the program will be on the District’s coronavirus website beginning Friday.