Trump approves disaster declaration

President Trump has approved Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s request for a major disaster declaration in the state’s fight against the coronavirus.

“This declaration will help provide much-needed funding for state and local governments, and it will be another important step in Maryland’s aggressive and coordinated response to #COVID19,” Hogan (R) tweeted.

The governor pressed for the declaration, which will allow the state to be eligible for reimbursement for certain actions taken during the crisis, in a phone call with the White House, Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said.

— Ovetta Wiggins


Metro temporarily closes 2 more stations

Metro temporarily shut down two stations on the Red Line on Thursday afternoon. The agency previously closed 19 stations because of the coronavirus.

The Tenleytown-AU and Van Ness-UDC stations were closed after the transit agency learned a contractor who had recently performed work at the stations tested positive for the virus, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. The contractor worked overnight, when Metro was closed and not carrying passengers.

Metro’s pandemic task force will decide when to reopen the stations. The agency has started tracing the man’s actions while working.

Three Metro employees have tested positive for the virus, including a Metrobus operator based in the Bladensburg division.

— Justin George

Street Sense suspends print publication

Since 2003, some struggling with homelessness in the District have sold Street Sense, a print newspaper focused on poverty and inequality, on city streets. On Tuesday, Brian Carome, Street Sense Media’s CEO, said it would suspend publication of its print edition, citing coronavirus concerns.

Articles will still be published on the Street Sense website, and readers will be able to tip vendors through a mobile app.

Street Sense vendors bought papers for about 50 cents from Street Sense Media, which also provides case management and counseling services, and sold them for $2. Some who sold the paper also published stories in it — getting paid in additional papers to sell.

Martin Walker, 48, said he has been selling Street Sense on and off since 2005. Martin, who is currently living on the streets, said he has made as much as $600 per week selling the paper. This week he made $35.

— Justin Wm. Moyer


Arlington markets are shifting to preorders

Arlingtonians and others searching for fresh produce can return to one of the county’s “winter markets” to directly buy food — but only if they preorder.

To limit possible exposure to the coronavirus, vendors are not permitted to display food or have on-site shopping. Vendors and customers have to maintain a six-foot separation while picking up food. Only 10 people will be allowed at the market at a time.

Arlington has three winter markets: Arlington Farmers Market, Pike Park Farmers Market on Columbia Pike and Westover Farmers Market. Information on how to schedule orders will be posted on each market’s website.

— Patricia Sullivan


More fire personnel test positive for virus

Four personnel at the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service have tested positive for the coronavirus, spokesman Pete Piringer said, marking the first known cases in the 2,700-strong department. The patients include career and volunteer responders.

Piringer said 19 others are self-quarantining.

Other area fire agencies have also reported cases of the virus among their ranks.

In the District, officials said Thursday that two more firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number infected to 12.

Doug Buchanan, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said officials believe one of the firefighters had contact with another who previously tested positive. He said health officials have not yet determined how the other firefighter contracted the virus.

— Rebecca Tan

and Peter Hermann