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THE NEWS:

It’s been a dramatic week in the District. D.C. cases of COVID-19 stand at 17 as of 7 p.m. Sunday. So far, 120 residents have been tested for COVID-19 in D.C.’s public and private labs. Last night, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that restaurants and bars must space out patrons and prohibited a space from serving more than 250 people at once. The rules also ban bar seating and force tables to be separated by six feet, each serving six or fewer people. In response to the new guidance and the ongoing pandemic, dozens of restaurants and bars have closed, and D.C. Superior Court has temporarily suspended hearings until May for a group of civil matters, including tenant-landlord issues and debt collection. The Court also committed to suspending evictions.

City Paper continues to track the city’s closures online here

But in a crisis, District residents have been looking for ways to come together and help one another. Over the last week, mutual aid programs have popped up on crowdfunding platforms and in email listservs. Restaurants, churches, and activist groups have organized help with childcare, delivered food, and organized people to complete errands. Steakhouse Medium Rare delivered food to elderly, isolated people, José Andrés closed his restaurants and announced that many will re-open as community kitchens, and Martha’s Table is providing the families of children enrolled in its education centers weekly stipends while it’s closed. Even on an individual level, neighbors are reaching out to others in their buildings.

“In times like these, people really do want to help,” Ria Peeples told DCist’s Natalie Delgadillo. “And it’s so important to push back against the isolation and turning inward and selfishness that can come in times like these if we don’t remind everyone that we have everything we need to support one another.” 

If anyone is looking for ways to help, there’s no shortage of groups looking for assistance. Residents can join the grassroots DC Mutual Aid Network Facebook group, volunteer as a neighborhood pod point person, donate to So Others Might Eat, which is continuing to offer services, donate blood, donate to the Capital Area Food Bank, give to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Area’s worker relief fund, just to name a few options. And a small, but impactful, way to help yourself and your community is easy for many: Stay home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve of infections. 

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City Paper staff is practicing social distancing and working remote from home, so if you have any tips email us by replying to this newsletter or emailing me directly. —Emma Sarappo (tips? Email esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)  

CITY DESK LINKS, byAmanda Michelle Gomez:

  • Updates as novel coronavirus spreads across the District: 

    • Here’s where students and others access free emergency meals. [DCPS, DC Food Project]

    • Here’s government information about trash collection, the DMV, unemployment and other public benefits. [DC.GOV]

  • Physician and patient at Children’s National Hospital test positive for COVID-19. Even so, the hospital remains ready to serve patients. [Twitter]

  • Homeless shelters are staying open. [Street Sense

  • A first-person account of how Dulles Airport is a case study for how a pandemic spreads. [Post

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Almost all D.C. Council hearings are canceled this week, except for Tuesday’s legislative meeting where councilmembers will vote on an emergency bill to address impacts of the coronavirus. [DC Council, WCP]

  • Bowser is expected to give a briefing today at 4 pm. [EOM]

  • Maryland lawmakers will end the general assembly Wednesday in response to the coronavirus. [WBFF]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • In a new twist, bars and restaurants are calling on the city to shut them down. [WCP]

  • Bowser imposes new rules on bars and restaurants, including no bar seating or parties larger than six people. [WCP]

  • Hospitality businesses adapt to reach customers in new ways as coronavirus concerns soar. [WCP]

  • ICYMI: Coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the restaurant industry. How to help your favorite places, besides dining out. [WCP]

  • Whole Foods says workers should donate their paid sick leave days to each other. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, byKayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Cleveland Park’s Uptown Theater has shuttered as AMC ceases operations there. [Post]

  • Students and avid readers headed to local libraries before they closed due to coronavirus. [WTOP]

  • Local board game store Labyrinth has seen increased sales for the Pandemic game. [DCist

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Selection Sunday came and went without basketball—or any sports. [NBC Sports]

  • If you want to run outside, be sure to practice safe habits. It’s extra important to be mindful of others during this COVID-19 pandemic. [RRCA, Runner’s World]

  • The NFL will now have 17 regular season games. [USA Today]

  • The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk scheduled for April 5 have been canceled. [CUCB]

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