Information, Health and Food Help During COVID-19 Outbreak in the District of Columbia
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s stay-at-home order requires the closure of all non-essential business activities, including tour guides and touring services; gyms, health clubs, spas, and massage establishments; theaters, auditoriums, and other places of large gatherings; nightclubs; hair, nail, and tanning salons and barbershops; tattoo parlors; sales not involved in essential services; retail clothing stores; and professional services not devoted to assisting essential business operations. The order is in effect until May 15. The For more details, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/.
Individuals should wear face coverings if visiting essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Face masks are required for:
- hotel workers, guests, and visitors;
- individuals using taxis, ride shares, private transportation providers;
- workers and customers of food sellers; and
- strongly encouraged for workers and individuals using public transit.
AARP Coronavirus Resource Information https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/coronavirus-facts.html Do you have symptoms? If you have coronavirus symptoms, call your health care provider or DC Health to figure out if you could — and should — get tested. Signs of the virus are a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath. You can also use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to check your symptoms. (Read more about coronavirus and how to stay safe.)
The District has numerous testing sites. Priority is given to three groups at these sites:
- Hospitalized patients and healthcare facility workers with COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms; patients over the age of 65 with symptoms; patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease who also have symptoms; and first responders with symptoms.
- Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms; healthcare facility workers and first responders; individuals in detention centers and individuals experiencing homelessness with symptoms; and individuals who do not meet any of the above categories but have symptoms.
Up-to-date Health Information
Go to https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/coronavirus-data to get the latest data, including number of infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and recoveries. More detailed information on Covid-19 cases by gender, race, ethnicity, and ward can be found at https://mayor.dc.gov/newsroom.
Food Assistance, Information and Resources Call 311 for information about food resources.
The Department of Aging and Community Living has a hotline for older adults: (202) 724-5626. The call center will conduct a quick assessment and connect people to the appropriate service, including meal delivery.
Map of food resources in the District of Columbia.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) SNAP helps residents buy the food they need for good health. All current SNAP recipients will be automatically re-certified during coronavirus, and all in-person interviews for new applicants have been waived. If you think you may be eligible for SNAP, complete and submit an application through the DC Department of Human Services (DHS). Learn more about how to submit an application on the DHS website.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program/ Grocery Plus The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), locally known as Grocery Plus, serves the District of Columbia’s 60+ population with a limited income. CSFP has increased its distribution to home bound seniors. For more information on CSFP/Grocery Plus program updates, visit http://capitalareafoodbank.org/covid19response/
- Find a Meals on Wheels program near you.
Grocery stores These retailers have provided special hours for older adults.
- AldiSpecial hours for older adults and immunocompromised: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:30 – 8:30 am; Accepts SNAP
- Dollar GeneralSpecial hours for seniors: 8 - 9 am daily
- Family DollarSpecial hours dedicated to at-risk customers, including older adults, individuals with pre-existing health conditions, and pregnant women: 8 - 9 am daily; Accepts SNAP
- GiantSpecial hours dedicated to individuals with compromised immune systems (regardless of age), older adults, as well as caregivers for customers who are unable to shop because of their health: 6 - 7 am daily: Accepts SNAP + WIC
- Harris TeeterSpecial hours dedicated to seniors: Mondays and Thursdays 6 - 8 am. ExpressLane Online Shopping for Seniors 9 am – 2 pm for seniors on Thursdays, free pickup for Seniors, $5 delivery for Seniors, in addition to regular 5% Senior club discount every Thursday; Accepts SNAP + WIC
- SafewaySpecial hours for older adults: 7 - 9 am Tuesdays and Thursdays; Accepts SNAP + WIC
- TargetSpecial hours for older adults: first hour, each Tuesday and Wednesday; Accepts SNAP
- Trader Joe’sSpecial hours for those 60+ and customers needing extra assistance: 8 - 9 am; Accepts SNAP
- Walmart Special hours for older adults and at-risk populations: 6 - 7am daily; Accepts SNAP + WIC
- Whole FoodsSpecial hours for those 60+: 7 am - 8 am daily; Accepts SNAP
- Shopping and delivery services (fee-based or membership) to consider:
- Boxed - Bulk products shipped to your home.
- Instacart - Groceries delivered from local stores.
- Postmates - Pick up and delivery service from restaurants, retailers and grocers.
- Shipt - Shopping and delivery available for select pharmacies and stores.
Per the District’s stay-at-home order:
- Do not enter a grocery store or pharmacy if you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose).
- Wear a mask or mouth and nose covering when entering and while inside the store.
- Cough or sneeze away from other people and into your elbow.
- Keep 6 feet away from other customers, both inside and outside of the store.
- Only pick up and touch what you plan to buy.
DC Health has issued guidance for emergency food providers serving meals during the COVID-19 crisis. This guidance and best practices from around the country for food distribution sites, farmers’ markets, and home delivered meals can also be found in a resource from the DC Food Policy Council.
Small Business Disaster Relief The District’s Economic Recovery Team (DERT) is working proactively to plan and coordinate how we will restart business activity and support our workforce. DERT invites the input of all stakeholders as we consider new programs and strategies to implement over the short-, intermediate- and long-term to support the recovery of DC’s economy. Provide your input here.
The Greater Washington Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support local nonprofits leading emergency preparedness and response efforts to help mitigate the impact on disproportionately affected communities in our region. Through this fund, we are focused on addressing lost wages, providing relief for small businesses and gig economy workers, expanding access to medical services, and meeting the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness, among other needs. Learn more about the emergency response fund.
For more information, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business
Financial Resources and Unemployment Benefits
The DC Council passed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 on March 17 to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Items that help low-income D.C. residents include:
- Extends unemployment compensation to include individuals who are temporarily unemployed due to the emergency or the pandemic.
- Expands employment protections under the District’s Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Authorizes extension of public benefit programs such as the Healthcare Alliance, TANF, and SNAP. The intent is to give everyone flexibility as to deadlines for renewals and minimize in-person visits for renewals or initial applications.
- Prohibits disconnection of electric, gas, and water utilities, and prohibits evictions during the public health emergency for both residential and non-residential tenants.
- Amends the Homeless Services Reform Act, primarily to give flexibility to the Mayor with regard to the potential spread of the coronavirus.
- Extends deadlines under TOPA and prohibits landlords from charging late fees.
For information on unemployment resources in the District, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals Isolation Prevention and Anxiety/Stress Relief
District residents are encouraged to visit the AARP Community Connections page to join or form a local mutual aid group or request to receive friendly check-in calls from volunteers.
Check out AARP’s 7 Ways to Handle Anxiety During the Outbreak: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/coronavirus-anxiety.html
Don't underestimate the impact of anxiety and stress on your well-being. Click here for helpful tips and resources.
- If you or someone you know is living with persistent mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety and trauma, contact the Warmline at 888-733-7753 to speak with a certified peer support specialist.
- If you or your loved one is in crisis, contact the Disaster Distress Hotline 24/7 at 800-985-5590 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.
Additional Resources and Activities
- 8 tips to keep parents and kids sane and safe during Michigan's coronavirus outbreak.
- Smithsonian Magazine offers links to ten museums to experience online.
- We may be apart, but we don't have to be alone. Give Help. Get Help with AARP Community Connections.
- Want to learn how to play a guitar? Fender is offering beginner-level classes online.
- Brush up on your cooking skills with these free lessons, Master the Basics from the NY Times.