District of Columbia

Stay-at-Home Order; Closure of “Non-Essential” Businesses

On March 30, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an Order requiring all individuals living in Washington, D.C., to say at their place of residence, except to engage in Essential Activities, Essential Travel, Essential Business Activities or Allowable Recreational Activities, as defined. The order is in effect from April 1 to April 24, 2020. A previous Order dated March 24, 2020, mandated the closure of non-essential businesses.

Debt Collection Restrictions

On April 10, 2020, the District of Columbia enacted the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 which, among other things, prohibits certain debt collection activities during the public health emergency and for 60 days thereafter. Specifically, no creditor or debt collector may:

  1. Initiate, file, or threaten to file any new collection lawsuit;
  2. Initiate, threaten to initiate, or act upon any statutory remedy for the garnishment, seizure, attachment, or withholding of wages, earnings, property, or funds for the payment of a debt to a creditor;
  3. Initiate, threaten to initiate, or act upon any statutory remedy for the repossession of any vehicle; except, that creditors or debt collectors may accept collateral that is voluntarily surrendered; 
  4. Visit or threaten to visit the household of a debtor at any time for the purpose of collecting a debt;
  5. Visit or threaten to visit the place of employment of a debtor at any time; or
  6. Confront or communicate in person with a debtor regarding the collection of a debt in any public place at any time.

Additionally, “no debt collector shall initiate any communication with any debtor via any written or electronic communication, including email, text message, or telephone. A debt collector shall not be deemed to have initiated a communication with a debtor if the communication by the debt collector is in response to a request made by the debtor for the communication.” The communication restrictions do not apply to: “(A) communications initiated solely for the purpose of informing a debtor of a rescheduled court appearance date or discussing a mutually convenient date for a rescheduled court appearance; (B) Original creditors collecting or attempting to collect their own debt; or (C) Collecting or attempting to collect a debt which is, or is alleged to be, owed on a loan secured by a mortgage on real property.”