May 22, 2020 | Update

Coronavirus Update: 5/22


We’ve been in coronavirus public health emergency mode for a little over 2 months now, so I know we are all getting a bit antsy to get on the other side of this, but as we enter into a long holiday weekend, please remember that the Stay-At-Home Order is still in effect. 

Keep reading for the latest updates on what Council has been up to, as well as some community updates. 

The ReOpen DC Committee has presented recommendations on how we will safely emerge from the current public health emergency. You can read the full report here. The recommendations include reopening DC in three phases. We expect Mayor Bowser to announce an official date for Phase I of reopening next Tuesday, May 26th.


Legislative Updates

On May 19th, the Council passed the latest emergency bill in response to COVID-19. The bill pretty much consolidated the last several bills that the Council passed. 

However, one new provision was an additional expansion of the District's Standby Guardianship law, which allows custodial parents to designate and authorize a person other than a parent to take care of, or make decisions for a child if the parent becomes incapable of doing so for up to 90 days. I previously introduced legislation to expand the law to include parents or guardians subject to an adverse immigration action. In response to our first modern-day pandemic, I felt it was necessary for families to have the same option in the case of a parent becoming ill with COVID-19.

Also, Councilmember Charles Allen and I moved an oral amendment to ensure all tenants, including those who live in buildings with 5 or fewer units, would be able to take advantage of the tenant payment plan passed by Council. Previously, smaller buildings were exempt from this requirement.

On May 19th, Mayor Bowser presented her proposed budget to the DC Council. Over the next two months, the Council will conduct budget oversight hearings with the agencies under each committee’s jurisdiction.

I will be chairing the Committee on Human Services hearing today, May 22nd, for public witnesses, and on May 26th for government witnesses. If you haven’t submitted testimony yet, don’t worry, the hearing’s official record is still open until May 29th for written and voicemail testimony.

  1. Written Testimony: email testimony to humanservices@dccouncil.us.

  2. Voicemail Testimony: call 202-350-1927, state and spell your name, state name of the organization represented and title, the agency you are testifying about, and begin testimony.


Community Updates

On May 15th, Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, and I sent a letter and proposal to Mayor Bowser urging immediate action to create public spaces that are safer for people during the public health emergency. Thank you to commissioners from ANCs 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D for your help with this proposal! Here’s the full letter.

Yesterday’s release of the ReOpen DC report from the Advisory Group did include a suggestion for repurposing streets and public space to respond to the crisis. However, it was vague. I created an example of what Ward 1 might look like if we do this on the scale other cities are acting right now. Click here to check it out. This map is speculative fiction, not a detailed proposal, but it illustrates the scale we need to be thinking on. Cities will either recover or scrape by depending on how well we accommodate our new reality.



Grocery distribution sites are open from 12:30pm-2:00pm.

  • Mondays: Brookland Middle School (Ward 5), Eastern Senior High School (Ward 6)

  • Tuesdays: Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7), Stanton Elementary School (Ward 8)

  • Wednesdays: Coolidge/Wells (Ward 4), Woodson High School (Ward 7)

  • Thursdays: Anacostia High School (Ward 8), Kimball Elementary School (Ward 7)

  • Fridays: Ballou High School (Ward 8), Columbia Heights Educational Campus (Ward 1)

*Please note that sites will be closed on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day. 

I stopped by the Ward 1 site at Columbia Heights Educational Campus last week to help out the staff and volunteers. 722 bags of groceries were prepared for distribution by DC Central Kitchen and 120 masks were given out by Collaborative Solutions For Communities staff members. Thanks, ANC 1A for donating the masks!  

Schools are providing meals for all students. There are currently 4 sites in Ward 1. Meal sites are listed here.

The Department of Aging and Community Living is delivering meals to seniors. If you or someone you know is 60+ years old and needs a meal, please call (202) 724-5626, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Also, the retailers listed below have provided special hours for seniors and vulnerable populations.

  • Dollar General: 8am - 9am daily

  • Family Dollar: 8am - 9am daily

  • Giant: 6am - 7am daily

  • Trader Joe’s: 8am - 9am daily

  • Walmart: 6am - 7am daily

  • Whole Foods: 7am - 8am daily

  • Aldi: 7:30am – 8:30am, Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • Harris Teeter: 6am - 8am, Mondays and Thursdays

  • Safeway: 7am - 9am, Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • Target: first hour, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

The Supplemental Assistance Nutritional Program (SNAP) provides financial assistance for food purchases. To apply, visit dcbenefits.dhs.dc.gov. SNAP recipients can now use their benefits on Amazon at amazon.com/snap-ebt to purchase groceries online. 

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provides food benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to District families with children who normally receive free or reduced-price school meals. If the family current receives SNAP or TANF, P-EBT benefits will be automatically loaded onto the family’s existing EBT card. Families not on SNAP or TANF will automatically receive an EBT card in the mail. More information is available here.



The Ward 1 Council staff continues to operate via telework, and we are available by phone and email. If you need any assistance getting connected to resources or have any concerns, please reach out. You can find our contact information here.


The Board of Elections (Board) is urging voters to vote-by-mail for the Primary Election on June 2nd. You will need to request a ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is May 26th.

Ways to request a mail-in ballot:

  1. Download the Vote4DC App 

  2. Call (202) 741-5283 to have your mail-in ballot request mailed to you 

  3. Download the mail-in ballot form and email the completed form to dcabsentee@dcboe.org

  4. Download the main-in ballot form and fax the completed form to (202) 347-2648 

  5. Download the mail-in ballot form, print, and send the completed form to: DC Board of Elections 1015 Half Street, SE, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20003

DC is currently lagging in Census responses, only about 56% of residents have responded! If you haven’t already, take 10 minutes to respond to the census. The census count determines where billions of dollars in federal funding go to – schools, infrastructure, hospitals. You can respond to the census by phone, online, or mail. More information is available at 2020 Census.