DC Mayor Bowser taps national figures for reopening task force

Mayor Muriel Bowser is tapping some big names for a big job: re-opening D.C.

The mayor selected eight people, including former mayors Adrian Fenty and Anthony Williams, former Ambassador Susan Rice, and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Mayor Bowser also announced that former First Lady Michelle Obama is assisting her administration in reaching out to D.C.'s most vulnerable populations with COVID-19 information.

The former First Lady has recorded radio ads and robocalls which will begin this week, Bowser said.


Bowser said the message will focus on free coronavirus testing for vulnerable D.C. residents who are experiencing symptoms.

"If you or a member of your household is experiencing fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, congestion, body aches, chills, runny nose – please contact your medical provider immediately," her message said.

"Remember, we urge you to stay home except if you need essential healthcare, essential food or supplies or to go to your essential job," the former First Lady's message continued.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Everything You Need to Know

This comes as the Washington Convention Center is about to begin operating as a coronavirus "alternate care facility."

D.C. National Guard has been working to convert an exhibition hall.

It could open next week but officials say they hope they don’t need it. The mayor says the curve is flattening, but cases are still up, so D.C. will stay shutdown.

Mayor Bowser also announced $25 million in grants to 10 area hospitals to prepare for D.C’s coronavirus surge. 

We’re also getting important new insight into where D.C. COVID-19 cases are coming.

D.C.'s health director revealed that contract tracing – critical to reopening – shows unlike the start of this health emergency, only a small fraction of D.C. cases are now travel-related. 

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The public is going to get a chance to weigh in on re-opening during an online town hall scheduled for Wednesday in an effort to get feedback from residents.

Mayor Bowser says she expects the reopen D.C. advisory group to have an initial report on her desk the week of May 11.