March 17, 2020

We just took the first steps to protect you and local businesses throughout the coronavirus outbreak. My team and I have been working hard with other Councilmembers and the Mayor to provide as many protections as possible to help our city through these unprecedented times.
We were able to get a number of provisions in the emergency bill to protect you during this difficult time, but I recognize that there is a lot more we need to do. My team and I are working through all the requests and recommendations you are sending. We are resilient, and by banding together, we will get through this.
Below is a summary of the emergency legislation the DC Council passed today , which will support residents, protect employees, maintain safe government operations, and provide relief for small businesses.
I also will continue to update you on my social media accounts.
Support for Residents
  • Gives the Mayor flexibility to extend and provide access to public benefit programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Program (SNAP), and the Healthcare Alliance program through the end of the public health emergency
  • Prohibits stockpiling of goods that first responders or others responding to the public health emergency need in order to do their jobs
  • Prohibits disconnection of electric, gas, and water utilities during the public health emergency and for 15 days afterward
  • Protects residents from evictions during the public health emergency
  • Allows deadline extensions for tenants and tenant organizations to exercise their tenant rights until 30 days after the public health emergency ends
  • Allows pharmacists to refill prescription drugs before the end of the waiting period between refills
  • Allows the Department of Human Services (DHS) to place families seeking shelter in a short-term shelter placement for 60 days, in the event DHS cannot determine a family’s eligibility on the same day they seek services. It also allows the Mayor to extend the placement through the end of the public health emergency
  • Allows restaurants to sell alcohol in closed containers for carry out and deliver
Protections for Employees
  • Residents will be eligible to apply for unemployment insurance benefits if they become unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the public health emergency, including if they are under mandated quarantines or self-quarantines, or in the event that their employer closes or reduces operations or has a loss of business revenue as a result of the public health emergency
  • Employment protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are extended to employees who are quarantined, recommended to self-quarantine, or are unable to work as a result of the public health emergency, so they can feel secure that their job will be available when they return to work
Relief for Small Businesses
  • Creates a public health emergency small business grant program that allows the Mayor to give grants or loans to eligible small businesses, non-profit organizations, and independent contractors that may be used to cover employee wages and benefits, operating costs, and the repayment of loans obtained through the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Prohibits eviction for non-residential tenants during the public health emergency
  • Allows all businesses except hotels to defer payment of sales tax for February 2020 and March 2020 until July 20th, 2020
  • Extends the March 31st real property tax due date for hotels until June 30, 2020
Maintaining Safe Government Operations
  • To ensure social distancing, no boards, commissions, or other public bodies will be required to meet during the public health emergency
  • In addition, to avoid the need for in-person office visits, the Mayor may extend all expiring licenses and registrations, including driver’s licenses and professional licenses, for the period of the public health emergency
  • Delays the submission of the Mayor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 until early May
  • Permits the Council to meet virtually during the public health emergency
Flexibility for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissions will no longer be required to meet during the public health emergency
  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissions that wish to continue their important work during the emergency will be permitted to meet and vote on items remotely using digital technology
  • The Office on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions will identify free or low-cost digital options for Commissions that wish to meet and will be providing training and guidance for ANCs on how to access these services
  • The Office on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions is also working on identifying resources that may be used for ANCs that need financial assistance to continue meeting virtually
  • The Office of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions will also provide legal advice, in coordination with the Office of the Attorney General, on complying with the open meetings requirements in the Home Rule Charter
  • Commissioners may contact the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions at oanc@dc.gov or Josh Turner at the Office of the Attorney General at Joshua.turner3@dc.gov for advice on how best to comply with open meetings requirements through digital means
DC Government will operate under an agency-specific telework schedule. Although some government operations will be performed remotely, other services will continue to be performed at public buildings, but under modified operations.

Please visit link below for more information.

The DC Superior Court and the Court of Appeals have made recent modifications to their operations as well. Please see those updates here : https://www.dccourts.gov/coronavirus .
The Department of Health has prohibited mass gatherings of 50 or more people. You can find the details by clicking on the link below .

Effective 10 p.m. tonight, gyms, spas, movie theaters and DC's bars and restaurants are closed. Restaurants are closed to dine-in customers but businesses may continue takeout and delivery operations. Gyms, spas, movie theaters, and massage parlors were also ordered to close. 

My office is teleworking, but still available to you. Connect with me and my staff via phone or email. Please call my personal office at (202) 724-8174, committee office at (202) 741-8595 or email any of my team members.


Let's work together to get through this.
Robert C. White, Jr. Councilmember, At-Large | Council of the District of Columbia
Phone: (202) 724-8174 | Fax: (202) 727-8210 |   www.RobertWhiteAtLarge.com