01 Apr 2020


Updates From Your ANC Commissioners

We periodically share updates from your ANC commissioners, edited for brevity and clarity. Although these are most pertinent to particular single member districts (SMDs), we feel the information shared can be of interest to the whole Capitol Hill community. Are you an ANC commissioner who shares regular updates? Add thehillishome@gmail.com to your distribution list, please! –María Helena Carey

The DC Flag, via @OMGFlags on Instagram

From Mark Eckenwiler, ANC 6C04

I’ve resisted the impulse to pepper your inboxes with daily updates on DC’s COVID-19 status, but things just took a sharp turn. This afternoon (Monday, March 30), Mayor Bowser issued a stay-at-home order that significantly escalates the prior restrictions on group meetings, restaurant service, etc. The order limits outdoor activity and travel to a few specified categories, including 

  • seeking food or essential household goods
  • obtaining necessary in-person medical care
  • “essential” work or travel
  • “allowable recreational activities”

A press release summarizing the order is posted at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-issues-stay-home-order. I have not yet seen a copy of the final order, but am confident it will be available soon at coronavirus.dc.gov
I’ll pass along additional important updates if & when I receive them. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy. If you have to go out, please observe the 6′ social-distancing rule to protect your neighbors, your family, and yourself.  

Two further updates:

1. A copy of the full stay-at-home order is now available at the URL in my first email (appended below). See Part IV.1 for the statement that Allowable Recreational Activities includes walking, biking, jogging, etc. *with members of your own household*. (The ambiguous wording suggests that you must maintain 6’ separation outdoors not only from strangers, but also from your household members. I don’t think parents are obliged to stay 6’ away from their toddlers, however appealing that might sound at this point.)

2. If anyone in an at-risk group—e.g., over 60, immuno-suppressed, or other vulnerable medical condition—needs assistance with errands like picking up prescriptions or groceries in order to limit exposure, you may contact Allison McGill (alli@thetabledc.org). She has graciously organized a group of volunteers for this purpose.

From Steve Holtzman, ANC 6B05

DGS has asked me to distribute the attached flyer. You may have noticed that the park (at Pennsylvania, D, and 8th Streets, SE, north side) is wrapped in a fence covered in blue plastic. They began work a couple of weeks ago and are moving busily along. The trees which were slated for removal are gone, as is “Big George” the Christmas tree (who had passed away already). Most of the existing hardscape has been broken up and removed. Those who live close by will have noticed the charming sounds created by them doing this. Tomorrow they will be digging out the splashpad. They’ve reported that they’ve had some glitches with suppliers who have had to shut down because of COVID-19 in various other states, but they are still  (optimistically) intent upon having the park finished and ready to open sometime in June. Assuming DC government doesn’t reverse it’s current policy and close down all the construction sites. 
In case anyone is wondering, given the context of all the other recent communications, Mayor Bowser, in her emergency orders, has defined all existing construction sites as part of the category of “essential” businesses and has permitted them to continue on in their operations. The city has issued guidelines for construction companies as to requirements for maintaining worksites which adhere to COVID-19 related sanitation, transmission avoidance and social distancing. Each site is required to submit to the city for approval a COVID-19 plan detailing how it will adhere to guidelines as well as the process if any workmen test positive during the construction.  I’ve also attached the guidelines.
I have to say that I do not support this DC government decision to let all the ongoing construction sites continue and, (for what it’s worth), have shared my views with the mayor’s office. I’m not alone in my views but it would be a suprise if DC changed course on this.  I’m not as concerned with companies following guidelines regarding what happens on the site, although I have some issues there, especially given the unclear magnitude of asymptomatic transmission and the currently limited capacity for testing in DC (and everywhere in the US). It’s more about the coming and going when, city wide, the numbers of construction workers (I don’t have an exact number) are so large and people working in so many other sectors have been told to stay home. I’m not sure why construction sites fit the definition of “essential” from a pandemic/flatten-the-curve perspective.
It’s not much of an issue for this site because, honestly, unless I’ve been misinformed, there won’t ever be more than 10-15 crew on the site at any given time (there are 6 now). And, yes, assuming we are on a different footing in the summer (not saying that’s going to happen) it would be nice to have a bright new park and playground open up just about that time. 
However, in a broader sense, when you consider the number of large scale projects going on in near the Navy Yard, in Southwest near the waterfront, around Union Market as well as elsewhere in the city….that’s a lot of sites and a lot of workers on the job, hundreds if not thousands. And they have to get to the sites and they have to leave them.  New York had the same policy but over the weekend they decided to shut down most construction sites. https://www.enr.com/articles/49031-new-york-shuts-more-projects-as-covid-19-cases-soar
FYI, for those blocks close by, I’ve tried to get DGS to start the jackhammer pounding later in the day however so far they’ve only agreed to starting at 7:30 am (It was 7:00 today). I’ll keep trying. 

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