Bowser Declares State of Emergency; D.C. Events Canceled

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LaQuandra Nesbitt, M.D., director of the D.C. Department of Health, and D.C. Council members look on, as Mayor Muriel Bowser declares states of emergency in Washington, D.C., on March 11. Photo by Jeff Malet.

State of emergency. Public health emergency. With almost a dozen confirmed cases of coronovirus breaking out in Washington, D.C., in less than a week, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared two states of emergency in D.C. and activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center on March 11.

“The states of emergency will permit the city to access federal resources and to mandate quarantines among other actions if necessary,” Bowser explained during an afternoon press conference.

The District is recommending that nonessential gatherings of more than 1,000 persons, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or canceled through March 31. “Permits for two events in March — the Rock and Roll D.C. Marathon and Half Marathon and 5K and the Scope It Out 5K — are being pulled,” she said.

Next week, public school schedules will be slightly altered. A teacher training day will be held on Monday, March 16, instead of Friday, March 20, with students required to attend on Friday but not Monday. Preparations are being made for the possibility of required distance learning for all D.C. students.

More announcements will be made as the D.C. Public Health Department assesses the fast moving coronavirus disease called COVID-19. The EOC and the JIC will coordinate the District’s response. Those centers are operated by the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

“I will be having briefing calls with D.C. cultural institutions,” the mayor concluded.

In a national address from the Oval Office, President Trump announced on Wednesday night that, among other actions to contain the spread of the disease and to defeat it, he will suspend all U.S. travel from Europe for the next 30 days. The ban excludes travel to the U.S. from the United Kingdom, he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronovirus throughout the world a global pandemic.

Below is a list of events and venues in Washington, D.C., nearby and nationally that are being shut down.

The old March Madness is canceled but seems a new one has begun.

Ditto: NBA, NHL . . .

Major League Baseball is delayed Opening Day by at least two weeks.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is shut down — with a few exceptions.

Broadway is closed — as is Disneyland.

The U.S. Capitol is closed to tours.

Georgetown, George Washington and American Universities will move to online classes after an extended spring break.

Maryland schools are shut down for temporarily.

Most programs scheduled for museums — such as the Smithsonian — and other cultural venues have been cancelled or postponed, although the buildings are still open.

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