Washington, D.C. Mayor Order No. 2020-054

March 31, 2020

Effective:  April 1, 2020

Expires:  April 24, 2020 

On March 30, 2020, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser issued a Stay-at-Home Order (the “Order”).  Starting midnight on April 1, 2020, the city’s residents must stay indoors unless carrying out essential activities or engaging in recreational activities that do not violate social distancing guidelines.

The Mayor’s Order is accessible here.  This Order is in addition to the restrictions already placed in D.C., which was summarized here.


The Order goes into effect at 12:01 AM on April 1, 2020.  This Order will remain in effect through April 24, 2020, or until the Order is rescinded, superseded, or amended by a subsequent order.


All individuals living in Washington, D.C. are ordered to stay in their place of residence. A residence includes homes, apartments, hotels/motels, shared rental units, and other similar facilities.  Individuals may leave only to engage in essential activities for the following reasons:

  • Obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth or medical supplies;
  • Obtaining food and essential household goods;
  • To perform or access essential government functions;
  • To perform work necessary to the operations/maintenance of essential infrastructure
  • To work at essential businesses or minimal business operations at non-essential businesses;
  • To engage in essential travel;
    • Travel related to essential activities, essential business, essential government functions, or minimum basic operations
    • Travel to a house of worship
    • Travel to care for vulnerable persons
    • Travel to a residence outside of D.C.
    • Travel to educational institutions for meals or materials for distance learning
  • To engage in permitted recreational activities, which is limited to:
    • Outdoor activity with household members that complies with social distancing requirements and there is no person-to-person contact:
      • Walking/running
      • Hiking
      • Dog-walking
      • Gardening
      • Tennis
      • Golfing
      • Rollerblading/skateboarding/scootering
    • Sanitizing equipment used both before and after the activity.

Staying at home does not include lingering in common areas of apartment complexes or using building facilities like gyms, pools, lounges, rooftops, or courtyard spaces.


The provisions of the Mayor’s Order 2020-53 regarding essential businesses, teleworking, minimum business operations of non-essential businesses, and the subsequent guidance published on coronavirus.dc.gov all remain in effect.

At any time, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs may request that an essential business provide its plans for complying with the requirement to minimize person-to-person contact and achieve social distancing to the greatest extent possible.

Non-essential businesses conducting minimum business operations (either pursuant to the Mayor’s Order 2020-53 or a waiver granted by the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency) may also be asked to show their operational plan and why/how the activities they are conducting fits within the allowable limits.


Violation of the Order can result in civil fines or the suspension/revocation of licensure. Penalties to businesses can be up to $1,000 per day and up to $5,000 per day after an order to close or a warning to close by an inspector.

Any individual who knowingly violates the Order may be charged with a misdemeanor.  If found guilty, the individual can be subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than 90 days.

Click here to view a downloadable PDF of the legal update.

This COVID-19 Legal Update is intended to keep readers current on developments in the law. It is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact authors Edward J. Longosz, II at 202.659.6619 or elongosz@eckertseamans.com, Mark A. Johnston at 202.659.6624 or mjohnston@eckertseamans.com, or any other attorney at Eckert Seamans with whom you have been working.

Share This Post


Edward J. Longosz, II Photo Washington, D.C.

Edward J. Longosz, II

Member - Washington, D.C.

See full bio
Mark A. Johnston Photo Washington, D.C.

Mark A. Johnston

Member - Washington, D.C.

See full bio