District of Columbia - COVID-19 Covered

District of Columbia

Total Cases: 177,945 (March 10)
Fatalities: 1,432 (March 10)
  • Information on COVID-19 in the District of Columbia can be found here. 


Essential Service Designations:

  • Mayor Bowser’s order closing non-essential businesses designates healthcare and public health operations, essential infrastructure, food and household products and services, social services, communications and information technology, energy and automotive, financial services, educational institutions (for the purposes of facilitating distance learning), transportation and logistics, construction and building trades, housing and living facilities, professional services, and childcare facilities. (March 24)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Hospitals and health systems across the District of Columbia will require all employees and clinical team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19. (June 9) 
  • Mayor Bowser’s order extending the District of Columbia’s public health emergency required residents to use masks or face coverings when engaged in essential business and essential travel if social distancing cannot be maintained. (May 13) 
  • Beginning April 24, workers became eligible to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, including individuals receiving UI benefits. (April 29) 
  • Mayor Bowser signed an emergency bill that would expand eligibility for unemployment insurance. (March 17) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Mayor Bowser announced the launch of STAY DC, aemergency rental assistance program to help households unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 12) 
  • Mayor Bowser and the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking announced a new, free program to help residents access programs and services to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (February 24) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that housing providers could now apply for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program on behalf of eligible tenants. (February 8) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced the District of Columbia would provide a $1,200 one-time stimulus payment for all residents currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance(December 7) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced $10 million in funding to cover tenants’ missed rent payments during the pandemic. (December 2) 
  • Mayor Bowser and the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency announced the relaunch of the District of Columbia Mortgage Assistance Program to provide financial relief to homeowners. (August 11) 
  • The District of Columbia City Council passed an emergency bill that included an amendment requiring landlords with five or fewer units to establish alternate payment options for tenants during the pandemic, among other provisions. (May 19) 
  • The District of Columbia City Council unanimously passed its fourth COVID-19 response measure, which will cap fees charged by meal delivery services to 15 percent of the order price, as well as require landlords to offer payment plans for renters. (May 6) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced expanded relief options for residents struggling with student loan payments due to the pandemic; qualified residents will receive loan forbearance and other protections. (May 1) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Mayor Bowser announced a second round of citywide personal protective equipment care packages for District of Columbia businesses. (February 16) 
  • The District of Columbia opened applications for the $29.5 million Entertainment Bridge Fund, which would provide grants between $10,000 and $250,000 to entertainment venues. (January 4) 
  • The District of Columbia launched a $100 million-dollar grant program for local businesses. (November 18) 
  • The Bowser administration announced $3.25 million in supplemental microgrants for legacy businesses(October 28) 
  • Mayor Bowser launched the new Small Business Resiliency Fund to provide $3 million in emergency operational funding for small and local businesses. (October 7) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund would provide $5 million in emergency operational funding to childcare facilities. (September 21) 
  • The Department of Housing & Community Development made up to $800,000 available for small businesses in the city’s 7th and 8th Wards. (May 15) 



  • Mayor Bowser lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals. (May 19) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia would lift capacity restrictions on most businesses and public venues by May 21. (May 10) 
  • Mayor Bowser issued an amended executive order mayor that would allow businesses to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry. Customers would be required to wear a mask inside, regardless of their vaccination status. (May 3) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia would ease some COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting May 1. (April 26) 
  • All District of Columbia residents will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 12. (April 9) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia would likely ease certain COVID-19 restrictions beginning May 1. The new guidelines would allow non-essential retail to operate at 50 percent capacity indoors and outdoors, and permit movie theaters to reopen at 25 percent capacity. (April 5) 
  • All essential workers in Phase 1C Tier 2 of the District’s vaccination program will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 29, which includes individuals working in non-public transit transportation services and logistics, as well as essential workers in media and communications. (March 26) 
  • Mayor Bowser and District of Columbia Health announced a new partnership with CVS to have three pharmacies focus on vaccinating teachers and school staff, childcare workers, health care workers, and residents 65 years of age and older. (March 24) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia would ease COVID-19 restrictions beginning March 22, with additional changes potentially by April 5. The new guidance would allow outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, eateries to serve diners indoors at up to 25 percent of their capacities, and the reopening of movie theaters. (March 15) 
  • Mayor Bowser introduced legislation that would create a “commercial lifestyle center license” that would allow customers to have open containers of alcoholic beverages within licensed zones. (January 27) 
  • The District of Columbia’s pause on various Phase 2 activities ended January 22, which allowed restaurants to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity or with no more than 250 people. (January 22) 
  • Mayor Bowser said the ban on indoor dining would “likely” be extended through the city’s public safety emergency, which ends January 24. (January 11) 
  • Mayor Bowser extended the Public Health Emergency through March 31 and introduced Phase 2 adjustments, including new requirements for non-essential retail and personal services. (December 21) 
  • Mayor Bowser issued an executive order that modified Phase 2 limits on large gatherings and confirmed 25 percent occupancy caps for constitutionally protected, recreational, and commercial activity. The Mayor also temporarily banned all indoor dining. (December 18) 
  • Mayor Bowser released updated COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans. (December 14) 
  • Mayor Bowser released updated quarantine guidance based on CDC guidelines and new vaccine distribution guidelines. (December 11) 
  • Mayor Bowser released Phase 2 reopening adjustments that went into effect on November 25, including capacity limits for gatherings and restrictions on alcohol sales at restaurants. (November 23) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that people who visit the District of Columbia would need to get tested 72 hours before traveling to the District, eliminating the quarantine requirement. Visitors that stay for longer than three days would have to get tested again three to five days after arrival. (November 6) 
  • DC Health released an updated list of high-risk states in which self-quarantining is required for all visitors who are traveling into the District of Columbia. (November 2) 
  • Mayor Bowser issued a new executive order that extended the District’s public emergency and public health emergency, and issued additional measures for Phase 2. (October 9) 
  • Mayor Bowser issued a new mask order, requiring all residents over the age of three to wear a mask when they leave the house. (July 22) 
  • Under Phase 2 of the District’s reopening, which began June 22, nonessential retail businesses could remain open for indoor shopping at 50 percent capacity; permitted personal services would be expanded to include tanning, tattoo, waxing, threading, and electrolysis, among others; and nonessential non-retail businesses were to continue to have employees telework to the greatest extent possible. Learning institutions such as childcare centers could resume operations with enhanced social distancing and hygiene practices; museums and the National Zoo could reopen with restrictions; libraries could reopen at 50 percent capacity; and colleges and universities could reopen in accordance with plans and processes adapted by city agencies. Restaurants could open for indoor dining with restrictions on table capacity, bar seating, table placement, and queueing. A number of businesses and activities would remain closed, including bars and nightclubs. (June 19) 
  • Gatherings of more than 50 individuals were prohibited under Phase 2 of the District of Columbia’s recovery period. (June 19) 



  • Mayor Bowser announced that she expects schools to open for five days a week of in-person instruction starting this fall. District of Columbia Health also released guidelines for graduation ceremonies. (April 9) 
  • Mayor Bowser announced that high school sports would tentatively be allowed to resume on March 15. (March 5) 
  • Mayor Bowser released Phase 2 reopening adjustments that included a suspension of high-school extracurricular sports and restrictions on physical education classes. (December 7) 
  • Mayor Bowser released COVID-19 testing protocols for students and staff participating in DC Public Schools in-person classes. (December 2) 
  • District of Columbia Public Schools opened a limited number of CARE Classrooms at 29 elementary schools on November 18. These classrooms would meet five days a week, with Wednesdays being a half day. (November 16) 
  • District of Columbia Public Schools announced that elementary school students would not return to in-person instruction on November 9 as originally planned. (November 2) 
  • Mayor Bowser released guidance regarding the District’s Phase 2 learning plan. Beginning October 23, families would receive a phone call about in-person learning opportunities. (October 23) 
  • The District of Columbia planned to invite preschool and elementary school students who were learning English as a second language or who were experiencing homelessness to return to physical classrooms starting November 9. Middle and high school students would continue with virtual learning from home and would likely not be allowed to return to physical classrooms until January 2021. (October 5) 

Higher Education:

  • A list of District of Columbia colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 

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