The Hill's 12:30 Report: How Washington is social distancing

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House disputes talk of national curfew | Reporters asked to keep distance as senators return | Supreme Court cancels March arguments | White House egg roll canceled | Stocks plummet after Fed cuts rates to zero | Sights and sounds amid outbreak | How Washington is social distancing | List of closed restaurants | Takeaways from Biden, Sanders debate | Biden says he will pick woman as VP | No studio audience | Moderators, candidates keep their space


New — the White House disputes a report about a national curfew:

Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, the White House is pushing back on a report that the administration is considering a nationwide curfew to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Who is disputing the report: Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Vice President Pence’s office, and White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere

Read the CNN report about a nationwide curfew:


Another bad morning for the stock market:

Via The Hill's Sylvan Lane, "Stocks plunged Monday morning in the wake of the Federal Reserve's drastic Sunday action to protect the economy and stabilize financial markets upended by the coronavirus pandemic."

The numbers: "The Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk 2,442 points, falling more than 10 percent shortly before 10 a.m. Monday. The S&P 500 fell 9.8 percent, triggering an automatic 15-minute pause in trading that occurs whenever the index falls at least 7 percent after the opening bell, and the Nasdaq composite sunk 9.6 percent." 




Supreme Court oral arguments are postponed: 

The Supreme Court has officially postponed all oral arguments scheduled for March.

What this could include: "a potentially landmark dispute over subpoenas for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE's financial records." 

Has this happened before?: "The Court postponed scheduled arguments for October 1918 in response to the Spanish flu epidemic," the court said in a statement. "The Court also shortened its argument calendars in August 1793 and August 1798 in response to yellow fever outbreaks."


The White House Easter Egg Roll is canceled:

Via The Hill's Judy Kurtz, the White House canceled its annual Easter Egg Roll on April 13 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

From first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead MORE: "The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now. I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone."


It's Monday -- welcome back! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Cancel any events with 50+ people:

Last night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called for in-person events with 50 or more people to be canceled for the next eight weeks.

Read the new CDC guidance:



From The CDC:



The Senate canceled its recess:

The Senate is returning to Washington, D.C., today to try to pass the House-passed coronavirus legislation and a surveillance bill.

What's in the bill: "The bill includes provisions that bolster unemployment insurance and guarantee that all Americans can get free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. It also creates a national paid sick leave program through this year requiring employers with fewer than 500 workers as well as government employers would have to provide two weeks of paid sick leave."

Two complications for the Senate passing the bill: "First, the House is expected to have to clear technical changes to the coronavirus package. That is expected to take place this week by unanimous consent."

"Secondly, the Senate is currently debating a surveillance bill, which is expected to get an initial procedural vote on Monday night. [Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMemorial Day weekend deals latest economic blow to travel industry Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K MORE R-Ky.)] would need the consent of every senator to move from that bill to the coronavirus package, or to skip over other procedural hurdles and clear the House-passed coronavirus quickly." 

What to expect, via The Hill's Jordain Carney:



The House is out this week.



There are already discussions on Capitol Hill about a second round of an economic stimulus.

What that could look like: "Lawmakers and aides expect an additional legislative package would include broader economic measures such as a tax rebate, a payroll tax cut, small business grants and loans, expanded unemployment insurance and relief for the airlines and other hard-hit industries." 




Wow -- here's a photo of 16th and I Street NW during this morning's rush hour:

A D.C. restaurant group is defying the city's restrictions: Hill Restaurant Group (HRG), which owns Hawk 'n' Dove, Lola's, Willie's Sports bar and other eating spots, announced it will defy the restrictions announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and will "continue to operate as normal." More from Washingtonian's Jessica Sidman:

^Bowser shot back: Mayor Bowser threatened "full force" from law enforcement if the restaurant group does not comply. 

^So then: "Tom Johnson, the managing partner of Hill Restaurant Group, told The Washington Post on Monday that he would comply -- meaning he would shut down all but three restaurants and lay off employees. He said that some of his businesses only have bar seating and that others are too small to keep tables six feet apart."


Precautions at the White House: 

More photos of the social distancing at the White House:

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill: Here are photos of senators speaking with reporters:

^Update — reporters are asked to keep a six-foot distance from senators:

What it's like at grocery stores around the DMV: Via WTOP, here are a few photos from grocery stores in the area:

Which restaurants are closed?: Via Eater DC, here's a list:



Restaurant dining is down 42 percent: OpenTable is reporting a 42 percent decrease in the nearly 60,000 restaurants that use its reservation service.

A pharmacy in NYC is charging $100 for sanitizing wipes:

Today in, 'omfg, how is this not The Onion?:: 'Oregon police department asks public not to call 911 if they run out of toilet paper' The article:

Designer hand sanitizer: LVMH, the luxury brand that makes Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy, is halting its production and will instead make free hand sanitizer.

OK, I laughed at this:

Free workouts for a limited time: The Down Dog yoga app is making its Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre and 7 Minute Workouts apps free until April 1. The press release:

A man stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer: "The Man With 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Just Donated Them: A Tennessee man had planned to sell his stockpile at marked-up prices online. Now he is under investigation for price gouging." Via The New York Times's Jack Nicas




1. The coronavirus changed the debate

2. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE attacked and counterattacked

3. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (I-Vt.) managed a difficult balancing act throughout the debate

4. Biden made overtures to the left

5. The debate format was one of many strange things about the night

Context and details for each from The Hill's Jonathan Easley

Most newsy part of the night: Biden announced that he would choose a woman as his running mate.



This video looks like two grandfathers on Grandparents' Day trying to look cool in front of the kids:


The podiums were set for social distancing:

This is a powerful photo: Here's a photo of Biden turning away to cough ... into his hand. Photo:

Right at the beginning of the debate, Biden coughed a few times: You could say those were ill-timed coughs.

Lol, the debate in black and white: This is a pretty funny screenshot. Photo:

Great caption: 



Oh wow: 



The House is out. The Senate meets this afternoon.

9 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence led a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Roosevelt Room.

10 a.m. EDT: President Trump participated in a G-7 teleconference to discuss a coordinated coronavirus response.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump held a teleconference with governors to discuss the coronavirus. 

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets. The Senate's full schedule today

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.



3:30 p.m. EDT: The White House's Coronavirus Task Force holds a press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Artichoke Hearts Day.


And to lighten the mood a little, here's a sport that hasn't been canceled: