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Have plans to go to the grocery store this weekend? Well, you may live near a store with a little extra room outside for you to wait in line!

After initially dunking on the “Open Streets” idea, Mayor Muriel Bowser started closing off some traffic lanes to make room for pedestrians who need to stay six feet apart from one another to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But some are already disappointed because they expected to see entire streets sectioned off.

On April 20, the Department of Transportation announced it is temporarily expanding sidewalks near essential businesses like grocery stores, which have to limit the number of customers who enter. 

DDOT selected lanes in the following areas that should be completed by April 24: 

  • Safeway on Georgia Avenue NW in Petworth; 

  • Trader Joe’s on 25th Street NW in Foggy Bottom/West End; 

  • The service lane along Connecticut Avenue NW in Cleveland Park; 

  • Near Irving Street NW between Hiatt Place NW and 15th Street NW in Columbia Heights; 

  • and on H Street NE between 3rd Street NE and 4th Street NE in H Street Corridor. 

While the goal is to have sidewalk expansions in all eight wards, the first few are clearly concentrated in Northwest D.C., where more of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods are located. With grocery store deserts in Southeast D.C., crowds to get in the few that are there seem likely. There was already a long line yesterday to get groceries in Congress Heights, per a Post reporter.

DDOT is currently evaluating more sites for similar treatments. For residents who want areas in their neighborhoods to be considered, ask your Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) and Business Improvement District (BID) representatives. 

To the mayor’s credit, Bowser also worked with the National Park Service and the United States Park Police to close Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park and roads in Anacostia Park and Fort Dupont Park to cars so residents can exercise. Beach Drive will be closed to traffic during the weekends, while the latter parks are closed to cars daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will remain in effect until April 30. —Amanda Michelle Gomez  (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • Friday’s press conference on the financial forecast is at 2 p.m. [EOM]

  • D.C. reported 14 additional COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of lives lost to 153. City officials also reported 167 new cases of COVID-19. 3,528 have tested positive for the illness while 16,533 have been tested overall. [EOM]

  • After President Trump promoted an unproven treatment for COVID-19, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson took to Twitter to shine him on. [Twitter]

  • Bowser sends her final version of the Comprehensive Plan, which envisions more density, to the Council with the hope of passing it before the end of the year. [BizJournal]

  • How do deaths in D.C. nursing homes compare nationwide? [KFF

  • ICYMI: A person experiencing homelessness who tested positive for COVID-19 left her hotel room because she believed she wasn’t receiving adequate care. The D.C. government is not arresting anyone for breaking quarantine. [WCP

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

  • Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd answered those ACLU questions after all (but he forgot two of them). [WCP]

  • Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau is pregnant with her second kid. [Twitter]

  • Budget season during the pandemic. [WAMU]

  • Which “city councilman” attended a secret, and reckless, Georgetown dinner party? [DCist, CNN

  • AG Karl Racine and Mayor Bowser disagree over how to prosecute gun possession charges. [Post]

  • ICYMI: Can Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White live stream his way to a second term? [WCP]

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

  • ANXO is selling kits that help you make your own cider at home. [Washingtonian]

  • Chef Massimo Fabbri’s lawyer says cocaine charges will be dropped. [Post]

  • GoFundMe fundraisers aren’t ideal. [Eater]

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

  • Ann Tyler’s 23rd novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road, is yet another gem. [WCP]

  • Local pianist Dan Roberts brings the sublime on November Suite. [WCP]

  • The Arts Club searches for love and identity in Miami with Chiron. [WCP]

  • Granny and the Boys “put on an impromptu stoop concert” in Mount Pleasant. [DCist]

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

  • DeMatha alum Chase Young is coming back home to play for the Washington football team. “I most certainly do believe he’s the best player,” coach Ron Rivera said after drafting Young second overall in the NFL Draft. [WCP]

  • Rivera’s selection of Young, touted as a can’t-miss defensive prospect, has earned the team high marks. Washington is back on the board in round 3 with the 66th overall pick. [SB Nation, CBS Sports]

  • The Nationals’ full-time employees will be paid through May. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • Get ready for some more ’90s nostalgia when episodes 3 and 4 of The Last Dance air on Sunday. [The Athletic, ESPN]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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