Stay at Home Ordered for DC Starting Wednesday – What Does That Mean

Late this afternoon, DC’s Mayor Bowser issued a so-called “Stay at Home” order, similar but different to what’s she’s announced in the past few weeks and what Maryland and Virginia announced earlier in the day. It may be confusing to read this on its own (since it needs to be read with previous orders) and in the narrative format lame real journalists use. So here’s my attempt at using my patented bulleted list form to tell you what you can and can’t do, and what I think of the non-explicit gray area. A knowing violation for business involves a ticket. A willful violation by an individual is a misdemeanor (up to $5,000 fine and 90 days in jail). Order goes into effect Wednesday morning.

Italics means it’s not clear but seems logical from order. I’ve bolded things that may be different than what you have been doing. 

“Social Distancing”: 1) 6 feet buffer zone 2) wash hands for 20 seconds/hand sanitzer 3) cover coughs/sneezes 4) clean high-touch surfaces 5) not shaking hands. Leaving home must be done with social distancing to maximum extent possible

[Note, I may have gotten some of this wrong and will edit Tuesday night]


  • Hanging out in your own house/apartment/condo with people you live with
  • Hanging out in your yard with people you live with
  • Hanging out on your porch with people in you live with
  • Hanging out on your balcony, stoop, steps with people you live with (as long as you are socially distancing with people who you don’t live with who are doing something permissible outside your home)
  • Hanging out in your yard/porch/stoop/steps with people who live in homes attached to yards/porches/stoops/steps/balconies next to yours as long as you are socially distancing
  • Leaving home to do an allowable outdoor activity with people you live with only that is socially distant (including sanitizing equipment before/after)
    • walking
    • hiking
    • running
    • dog-walking
    • biking
    • rollerblading
    • scootering
    • skateboarding
    • playing tennis
    • golfing (Note all public golf courses in DC are currently closed)
    • gardening
  • Leaving home to obtain food and essential household goods
    • Grocery Stores
    • Supermarkets
    • Farmers markets
    • Food banks
    • Convenience stores
    • Liquor stores
    • Laundromats
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Other laundry services
    • Medical Marijuana centers
    • Any cleaning product establishments
    • Restaurants/Bars (that serve food)
    • Distilleries/Breweries
  • Obtaining home-based services that don’t involve physical touching and can be done with social distancing
  • Performing home-based services that don’t involve physical touching and can be done with social distancing
  • Leaving home to perform task essential to health/safety of self, family, household member, including pets
    • obtaining supplies/medication
    • visiting health care professional
    • obtaining supplies needed to work from home
  • Leaving home to obtain services/supplies for own self/family/household
  • Leaving home to deliver services/supplies to others necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and operations of home
  • Leaving home to care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Serving as a caregiver for another
    • Nanny
    • Home aide
  • Leaving home to work essential business/government functions
  • Leaving home to engage in any  essential business or the minimum basic operations of essential business
  • Leaving home to visit a house of worship
  • Leaving home to pickup distance materials, meals and related services from schools
  • Returning from outside DC to go home, or to return home outside DC
  • Leaving home required by law enforcement/court order

Allowed Business

  • Bars/Restaurants (including food trucks)
    • Only delivery, carryout, grab & go
    • Beer, wine, liquor can be sold w/ prepared food purchase
  • Breweries & Distilleries
    • Pickup and delivery (no food required)
  • Taking public transit (but take back door) with social distancing if possible
  • Ride-share (disinfecting wipes, must wipe down all surfaces touched by passenger after each ride). Max 2 people.
  • Telework of non-essential businesses
  • Minimum basic operations of non-essential biz
    • preserve inventory
    • ensure security
    • payroll/benefits
    • facilitate teleworking
    • cleaning
    • supervision of people still on site
  • Home-based businesses which don’t involve physical contact with other people
  • Government functions
  • Healthcare/Public Health (basically all you think it including medical marijuana dispensaries, veterinarians)
  • Infrastructure
    • Public Works (roads, sidewalks, etc.)
    • Utilities
    • Trash
  • Social Services
  • Newspapers, TV, Radio
  • Natural Gas, Gas Stations, Auto repair/mechanics, Auto supply
  • Banks
  • Schools for tele-learning
  • Shipping/delivery services
  • Taxis/Rideshare
  • Mailing/Shipping Services
  • Bike sales/repair
  • Construction/Building Trades (includes a bunch, select list)
    • plumbers
    • electricians
    • exterminators
    • roofers
    • carpenters
    • big box supply stores
  • Hotels
  • Animal shelters
  • Lawyers, Insurance, Notary Public, Tax Prep
  • Childcare

In general, if you are conducting a business you may be asked by DCRA to provide your plans for complying with minimization of person-to-person contact and social distancing

Not allowed:

  • Gatherings of 10+ people (except if essential business or transit)
  • Sit-down/eat or drink in restaurants/bars
  • Delivery/pick-up of alcohol from restaurants/bars (except breweries/distilleries) without food purchase
  • Lingering in common areas of apartment buildings
  • Using apartment buildings facilities
    • gyms
    • party rooms
    • lounges
    • rooftop
    • courtyard spaces
  • Doing outdoor activities with people you don’t live with
    • walking
    • hiking
    • running
    • dog-walking
    • biking
    • rollerblading
    • scootering
    • skateboarding
    • playing tennis
    • golfing
    • gardening
  • Hanging out people you don’t live with
  • Leaving home for any reason not listed above
  • Leaving home for companionship or entertainment with people outside your household

Non-essential businesses

  • tour guides/touring service
  • Gyms/health clubs/massage parlors
  • theaters/auditoriums
  • Restaurants/bars with nightclub licenses
  • hair/nail/tanning salons & barbershops
  • tattoo parlors
  • sales of most things
  • retail clothing stores



2 responses to “Stay at Home Ordered for DC Starting Wednesday – What Does That Mean”

  1. […] on congregating outside with friends, as if this weren’t a real and deadly crisis. Our friend Barred in DC has a simple breakdown of what you can and cannot do during this […]

  2. […] on H Street, how to get most money in the pocket of your favorite restaurant/bar, and what does DC’s stay at home order require). I’ve also been posed a lot of questions and here’s my attempt to provide that info in […]

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