Over the weekend, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. government announced operational restrictions for restaurants, clubs and local venues to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Some businesses have also decided to shut down indefinitely to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation to limit public gatherings of 50 people or more.
As of 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, there have been 17 individuals in the District who have tested positive for COVID-19. The D.C. government has been releasing updates on its virus-focused website packed with information about the region’s COVID-19 outlook. NBC Washington is also providing live updates on how the virus is spreading throughout the DMV region.
(Thread) This notice clarifies the actions restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, and multi-purpose facilities must take to comply with the District of Columbia Department of Health’s (DC Health) Emergency Rulemaking to Prohibit Mass Gatherings effective March 13, 2020.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) March 15, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 spread in the region, and as an act to practice “social distancing,” many local tech companies and organizations are reorganizing how they work and host events during this time. Leaders from SEED SPOT and Byte Back told Technical.ly about the process by how they quickly changed their local programming.
Last week, SEED SPOT transitioned all of its programs to virtual in two days time, SEED SPOT CEO C’pher Gresham said. Locally, the social impact accelerator moved its Venture Thursday event scheduled for March 12 online, along with its Phoenix-based Impact Accelerator Kickoff event on the same day.
Gresham said one of the most difficult aspects of moving these events online was quickly communicating the decision to the general community.
“We found that individuals were excited to join virtually. In fact, we saw our event attendance increase by 25 to 40% and not only represent the geographic area we were hosting,” he said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this if we weren’t working with amazing vendors to support our A/V needs.”
Virtual Kick-Off is off to a great start! Our CEO, @cphergresham, is now explaining SEED SPOT's history of supporting entrepreneurs and thanking SEED SPOT 500 members for making the impact possible. #PHXKickOff2020 pic.twitter.com/tMBBqhFVwj
— SEED SPOT (@seedspot) March 13, 2020
For employees in all of its markets, the Byte Back team is working remotely. The tech inclusion nonprofit announced it was moving its educational instruction online last week as well. As of today, Byte Back’s office will be closed until March 31 at the least, with all of its staff working remotely. Classes that are currently in session will continue virtually beginning on March 18, while courses slated to start today have been postponed. Byte Back Communications Director Yvette Scorse told Technical.ly that the nonprofit has also equipped some students with laptops so they can learn from home.
“This situation shows how stark the digital divide is and how necessary access to tech devices, connectivity and tech skills truly are. The job stability that these three factors provide for people is so evident right now,” said Scorse. “As our city moves into telework mode, it’s clear that those who do not have the privilege of technology will be the most directly effected economically by missing work.”
To help keep the #dctech community updated, here’s a list that we will be updating with more information on how organizations are changing their programming:
- The Data Coalition’s SXSW 2020 panel titled Innovating with Open Government Data will take place virtually today at 4:30 p.m. Those interested can register online.
- DC Startup Week’s upcoming StartupYourMorning event on March 20 has been moved to a virtual meeting. Those who register for the event will receive Zoom information to tune in. DC Startup Week is also hosting a virtual cowork/coffee break on March 27 for those working remotely. Updated information will be sent when you register.
- D.C.-based Black Girl Ventures moved its 2020 SXSW pitch competition into a virtual event. Video pitches from Austin-based minority women entrepreneurs will broadcast on Black Girl Ventures’ proprietary virtual platform SheRaise. From today until March 29, viewers can vote and donate funds to the entrepreneurs.
- Even though Code for America cancelled its annual summit slated for March 11 to 13 in Virginia, the organization is releasing content from some virtual panels. Links to those panels can be found on Code for America’s Twitter.
- All one-day courses, workshops and bootcamps hosted by General Assembly will be held online until further notice.
- SEED SPOT’s Impact Accelerator community-wide Demo Day that was slated to take place at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company on April 14 will now take place virtually. Here’s more information on the companies slated to pitch.
- Earth Day Network reported that it will be moving its 50th annual Earth Day celebration to a digital event on April 22. On this day, the organization is encouraging the use of the #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE hashtags to track conversations online. There are also various global digital events surrounding Earth Day in the works.
- The 2020 Environmental Film Festival has moved online. Films will be available for viewing from March 17 through March 31.
- Tech in Motion’s Future of Sustainability TECHspo event slated for March 19 has been postponed. The meetup group’s team shared in a message that it’s working on ways to still collaborate with the community virtually.
- Two Techstars Startup Weekend events originally planned for this spring were postponed. The life sciences edition scheduled for March 27 to 29 and the fintech edition planned for July 10 to 12 have been put on hold indefinitely.
- Biweekly event series 1 Million Cups DC has postponed its events until at least April 1. The organization cancelled its March 18 event, with at least five events planned to take place once it resumes.
- The Women in Tech Summit for the Mid-Atlantic, which was originally scheduled for April, has been postponed to September 17 and 18. The summit will take place at the National Housing Center in D.C. and registration for attendees will be transferred to the updated summit dates.
- American University’s Big Idea Pitch Competition has been postponed until the fall semester. The competition first launched on Feb. 12 and called on AU students to submit two-minute videos showing solutions to a social or business need or problem. Submissions were originally being accepted until March 19, with an in-person pitch final on March 24, that’s now cancelled. Video submissions are now being accepted until Nov. 13, with details about the in-person pitch final to come.
- DCA Live has postponed all of its large events through mid May and round tables scheduled for March and April. In the meantime, the organization will be hosting a virtual round table on March 24 with Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo.
- Technical.ly’s NET/WORK DC tech jobs fair and networking event that was scheduled for March 24 at The Yard has been cancelled. There is no plan at this time to reschedule the event and refunds for ticket holders started processing last week.
- CreativeMornings DC has decided to cancel its March event. The organization usually hosts monthly events, usually slated for the last Friday of each month, that feature coffee and a morning presentation. This announcement comes after CreativeMornings DC celebrates seven years hosting events in the District.
- SAS Global Forum, which was scheduled for March 29 to April 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, has been cancelled. The event hosted by North Carolina-based SAS Institute, a developer of analytics software, was expected to attract 6,000 attendees.
- Originally scheduled for June 13 to 28, Halcyon’s By the People festival has been cancelled. By the People is an annual arts and dialogue festival with events hosted throughout the D.C. area.
This list will be updated as new information becomes available. To send in info about your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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