CM Charles Allen on Schools, Risk Exposure, City Services – Emergency Legislation Next Tuesday
By Larry Janezich
CM Charles Allen held a phone call press conference with Capitol Hill community news organizations on Thursday afternoon to answer questions about the city’s response to the health emergency. He said the City Council will take up legislation next Tuesday to address the coronavirus outbreak.
On schools, Allen said that the Mayor, the Chancellor and Allen himself were assessing the risk levels and that any decision to close schools would be made in the context of its effect on parents who have jobs and on continuation of the schools’ food programs – plans are in place for the latter. He said everyone should have a backup plan in case a decision is made to close schools.
On risk exposure, Allen said that once an individual tests positive for the virus, a Department of Health epidemiologist team traces the person’s public contacts back for a week or 10 days. In cases where the individual comes into contact with a large number of people who can’t be reached directly – such as the parishioners of Christ Church in Georgetown – the Department asks anyone who came into contact with the person to call the Department of Health. Otherwise, every effort is made to protect private information.
City services including trash and recycling pickup will continue throughout the emergency. Department of Public Works employees have been provided with personal protection equipment, and are already wearing masks and gloves.
City Council Chair Phil Mendelson has placed a package of legislation on the agenda for next Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The measures provide for wage replacement and job protection for residents who face work stoppages due to quarantine or actual sickness, delayed taxes for businesses, small business grants, and protection from eviction, price gouging, and disconnection of electric, gas, and water service. Also included are provisions for continuity of public benefits and services, extension of licenses and registration, authority for Medical Board-authorized pharmacists to issue one-time prescription refills, and relief for ANCs and other boards, commissions and public bodies from monthly meeting requirements. The legislation will extend the time for the Mayor to submit a budget, and allow more flexibility for the Council to conduct its legislative business by permitting remote voting during the emergency. Copies of the legislation are available on City Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s website here: http://bit.ly/39LEyHV
To follow CM Allen’s coronavirus updates, go here: http://www.charlesallenward6.com/
For DC’s coronavirus website, go here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/