Coronavirus closings extended to April 27 in D.C.


coronavirus, gay news, Washington Blade
JR.’s is among the local gay bars that have closed due to coronavirus. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced at a news conference on Friday that she has extended the city’s emergency order requiring restaurants and bars to discontinue onsite operations and the full closure of nightclubs until at least April 27 as part of efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Last Sunday the city announced the closings and restricted
operations of bars and restaurants and other businesses such as health spas and
theaters would be in effect until at least March 31.

Bowser also announced that a 59-year-old D.C. man has become city’s first coronavirus related death.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, was admitted to a local hospital last week with a fever and cough as well as with other underlying medical conditions, the mayor said.

“It is with great sadness that we announced a tragic death and, on
behalf of our residents, I share our love and condolences with the patient’s
family and friends,” Bowser said. “As a community, we must continue to support
one another during these uncertain times. Everyone must do their part so that
we can blunt the spread and protect our families, friends, and neighbors,” she

Other city officials speaking at the news conference said an
emergency $25 million city program to provide financial assistance grants to
D.C. small businesses adversely impacted by the coronavirus emergency would
become available early next week.

Among the businesses that could be eligible for the emergency
grants are the city’s 13 gay bars that have been forced to shut down in
connection with coronavirus restrictions. Only a few of the gay clubs that have
provided food service were immediately equipped to switch to a carry-out

A large number of D.C. area LGBTQ residents who work at the LGBTQ clubs and other hospitality industry businesses such as restaurants, bars and hotels have faced immediate loss of their jobs with the prospect that a prolonged emergency shutdown could force their employers out of business permanently.

Bowser reiterated at her news conference previously announced
emergency changes to broaden the eligibly of temporarily unemployed workers to
obtain unemployment insurance benefits. She noted that her office has issued
waivers on certain restrictions that could have prevented workers displayed by
coronavirus shutdowns of businesses from being eligible for unemployment

Several of the LGBTQ clubs forced to close have made appeals to
their longtime customers on their websites and Facebook pages for donations to
help employees who have lost their jobs due to the shutdowns.

Published at Fri, 20 Mar 2020 21:22:40 +0000