Today's message from Mayor Bowser during this public health emergency is for to be a good neighbor and stay at home to keep families and first responders safe. At a press conference today, the city reported a total of 116 people in DC have contracted the virus, with 17 recovered cases. A second person in DC has died from contracting COVID-19. Over the weekend, DC closed streets to the Tidal Basin in an effort to deter the congregating that was occurring there from Cherry Blossoms and sports games. Public parks are closed.
The Mayor has not issued a shelter in place order as has been done in other jurisdictions. Cases are expected to increase as testing increases. Hospitals are being reconfigured to add more capacity and the Mayor is having conversations about using unused hotels, furloughed nursing facilities, and other facilities should a need to expand healthcare sites emerge. The DC Medical Reserves Corp - a volunteer program for both personal and professional volunteers - has been activated. Updated guidance to non-essential businesses is expected in the coming days.
DC Agencies continue to operate in a modified capacity. The city also is keeping an eye toward long term health and economic recovery. As requested by DCBIA, construction activity can continue, using social distancing and proper sanitizing. Also, the Mayor and CFO Jeff DeWitt announced moments ago, a delay to file and pay 2019 individual, fiduciary, and franchise tax returns to July 15, allowing 90 days from the April 15 original deadline. The Mayor is also requesting more assistance from Congress in the coming days.
DCBIA has shared recommendations to the Mayor should the city move toward shelter-in-place. Using best practices from New York, California and other jurisdictions, the requests ensure essential business operations can continue, including construction activity, building operations, and maintenance. Another request is to allow notaries to continue using video conferencing and electronic signatures to create an environment free of physical interactions, as a sensible step to continue real estate transactions. The Senate is currently meeting on the federal stimulus bill. Other relief measures are also being considered. Please share your thoughts and ideas.
We are preparing for a live DCBIA webinar on Thursday, March 26 at noon to answer your questions on COVID-19 response. Stay tuned for details.
Take care of yourself and each other.