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A civil rights march. A fireworks show. A lot of events are planned for this week in the District, from Al Sharpton’s “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” March on Washington to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. The events will attract large crowds and out-of-state residents, both of which are highly discouraged in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
The RNC kicks off today nominally in Charlotte, with Trump’s speech featuring a fireworks display at the National Mall scheduled for Thursday night, while Sharpton’s event begins Friday at 11 a.m. There are plenty of events ahead of that. On Tuesday, Maryland Republicans along with the Maryland Black Republican Council plan to hold “a First Amendment demonstration” at Lafayette Square ahead of First Lady Melania Trump’s speech at the White House Rose Garden. The gathering is expected to attract tens of thousands according to organizers’ permit.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has little influence over the events, because they take place largely on federal land. Organizers sought permits from the National Park Service. At recent press conferences, Bowser and her director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Chris Rodriguez, said they had been in regular conversation with “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” organizers, which include Sharpton’s National Action Network and the NAACP, along with other civil rights groups. Organizers told city officials participants are required to wear masks, and they’ll be taking a number of precautions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Republicans did not give D.C.’s Democratic mayor that same courtesy. Bowser was not even aware of the scheduled fireworks display on the Mall when the RNC submitted its application to NPS.
It is important to keep in mind that DC Health’s contact tracing shows protests so far have not been connected to any spikes in COVID-19 cases. (In fact, it’s informal gatherings of under 50 people that are connected to an increasing number of cases.) Why is that? DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitthas not speculated why, but generally speaking, being outside lowers the risk of transmission. And many protesters were seen wearing masks as they took to the streets.
Some will be traveling into the city for these events. Bowser’s order says travellers from “high risk” states—which were just updated today—need to quarantine for 14 days from their arrival to D.C. Enforcement is tricky. Some already identified loopholes, telling the Post they’d stay in Maryland or Virginia—states exempt from the quarantine order—and travel into D.C. just for the protest. And any visit less than 24 hours is considered “essential travel” and would skirt the order.
—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? email@example.com)
CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
At Monday’s press conference, Bowser said residents who contracted COVID-19 are encouraged to donate their plasma by visiting fda.gov. She also said DC Public Schools families should expect more information on the start of school and planning Wednesday. To request technology for class, families should go to dcpsreopenstrong.com or call (202) 442-5885. [Twitter]
As of Aug. 24, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 but 49 new positive cases. The total number of known infections is now 13,639. [EOM]
“I didn’t want to take the test. I was still processing.” How gun violence shapes D.C.’s students and their academics. [Post]
The Metropolitan Police Department disbanded its “Horse Mounted Unit,” which included four officers and four horses who were responsible for crowd control, citing the Council’s recent budget cut. [DCist]
“The police need to be defunded:” Q&A with April Goggans of Black Lives Matter DC. [WTOP]
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? email@example.com)
DC Housing Authority board commissioner dismissed after asking questions about a whistleblower lawsuit. [WCP]
Who is behind those “BACK BILL” signs posted all over the place? [Twitter]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
Young & Hungry is away from her desk and will be back next week.
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? email@example.com)
The National Zoo welcomes a new panda cub. [DCist]
Here are ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this week. [Washingtonian]
The Helen Hayes Awards head to Zoom. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
After two straight first-round exits in the playoffs, the Caps have fired head coach Todd Reirden. Expectations were high after the Caps won the Stanley Cup in 2018, and Reirden, in his first head coaching job, struggled to make a deep run with a championship roster. [NBC Sports Washington]
Erik Moses, the former president of the XFL’s DC Defenders, made history as the first Black track president in NASCAR history. [Yahoo]
In a Twitter video posted Friday, Jazhiel Morel, a Nats employee in the Dominican Republic, can be seen throwing two cups of coffee at a cashier. He has been fired. [ESPN]
Wolf Trap’s opera film The Orpheus Projectis available to stream online now.
Itching to show off your trivia skills in a pandemic? Try We Don’t Know Either Live, run on Facebook.