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‘Stay at Home, DC!’

  • March 31, 2020

Acknowledging the risk of the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), on March 30, 2020, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-054, requiring all individuals anywhere in the District of Columbia to stay in their residences, except to perform essential activities, engage in essential business, provide or obtain essential government services, or engage in certain authorized recreational activities not involving close contact with other persons. This Order goes into effect on April 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

The intent of the Order is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Washington, D.C. and others while reducing COVID-19 virus infections, COVID-19 illness, and death caused by COVID-19 and its complications.

Under this Order, individuals may leave their residences only to engage in “Essential Activities,” which includes obtaining medical care, performing or accessing essential governmental functions, working at essential businesses, engaging in essential travel, or engaging in allowed recreational activities.

Significant for employers is the following:

  • Individuals are allowed to engage in essential business activities or minimum business operations of businesses not deemed essential, but the services must not involve physical touching and must be carried out in compliance with social distancing requirements;
  • The provisions of the Mayor’s previous order ( Mayor’s Order 2020-053) on which businesses are essential, promoting telework, and allowing minimum business operations of non-essential business remains in effect;
  • At any time, the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) may request an essential business to provide, and the business must provide, its plans for complying with the requirement to minimize person-to-person contact and achieve, to the greatest extent feasible, social distancing;
  • Non-essential businesses conducting minimum business operations or fuller operations under a waiver granted by Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) may be asked to show their operational plan and why the activities they are conducting, and how they are conducting them, fit within allowable limits; and
  • The DCRA may impose penalties (including summary closure of businesses) subject to subsequent hearings at the Office of Administrative Hearings; Notices of Infractions and Orders to Show Cause why a business should not be closed; or Notices of Infractions and Penalties of up to $1,000 per day for violations (for each site operating in violation of this Order or Mayor’s Order 2020-053) and penalties of up to $5,000 per day (for each site) for operation after an order to close, or a visit by an inspector that resulted in a warning or a request to close, that was immediately not complied with.

D.C. employers should consider preparing now for responses to the above types of government requests about COVID-19 safeguards and operational plans. Essential businesses employers (and those providing Critical Infrastructure services or supplies, as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security) also may want to provide their employees with “Safe Transit” letters that employees can use if stopped while traveling to or from work locations.

Additional Jackson Lewis Resources:

  • COVID-19 Task Force
  • State-by state summaries, including the District of Columbia, on furlough/layoff information and issues, including benefits, unemployment, and wage hour requirements. Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney.

Due to the influx changes, Jackson Lewis is committed to providing updates and clarifications to help employers make the best business decisions. Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney if you have questions or need guidance handling issues pertaining to COVID-19.

©2020 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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