Once again, there will not be an Emancipation Day parade due to the pandemic.

If you have errands to run at government offices in the District this Friday, you might want to reschedule. Almost all of the city's government offices will be closed in observation of Emancipation Day on Friday, April 16, 2021. Emancipation Day is the holiday to mark the release of over 3,000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia.

D.C. abolished slavery eight months before slaves in the south were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and was the only state or municipality that compensated slave owners to free slaves.

In years before the pandemic, the city held parades and events to mark the occasion. This year the city will honor Emancipation Day with a one-hour tv special,  “Becoming Douglass Commonwealth, From DC Disenfranchisement to Full Democracy.” The program explores the city’s history and how leaders hope to turn the District of Columbia into the 51st state. It will air on Friday, April 16, 2021, on WUSA Channel 9 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the city’s DCN network.

Courtesy of DC.gov

Most of the city’s government offices and programs will also be closed on Friday including:

  • City government offices
  • Libraries and Recreation Centers
  • Public Schools (meal services will also be paused)
  • Department of Motor Vehicle offices
  • District COVID-19 testing centers
  • Department of Employment Services (residents can still file online)
  • No trash or recycling pickup

All vaccination centers will remain OPEN on Emancipation Day.

If you are planning on heading downtown you won’t need to worry about parking meters. The city doesn’t enforce parking meter fees on holidays. They will continue to enforce emergency parking violations. The DC Circulator will be operating on its current schedule and fares will be free for the day.

How will you be observing Emancipation Day this year? Share in the comments.