DC mayor Muriel Bowser is extending the city’s stay-at-home order through June 8. In a press conference today, Bowser said the city needs to see a further decline in case numbers to safely initiate reopening. The District has seen a decline in cases for four days now; that trend will need to continue for 10 more days.
Declining case numbers are one of the four criteria needed for reopening, Bowser said. The city will need to have ample testing, hospital capacity for a potential surge, and a robust contact tracing program. DC has enough testing and hospitals are consistently below 80 percent capacity, she said, but the city will need to expand its contact tracing services.
Should the city hit the needed metrics to safely reopen before June 8, Bowser said she could shorten the stay-at-home order. While it’s possible the city could start to reopen by June, some sources speculate widespread shutdowns could extend into early July.
Bowser’s initial stay-at-home ordinance went into effect on April 1 and was extended to last until May 15. Under the order, DC residents are required to remain at home unless engaging in essential activities like getting food or exercising. Those found to be in violation of the Mayor’s order are subject to jail time of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $5000, or both.
There’s been little to no enforcement by the MPD, though. Just one citation has been issued in the District for social distancing-related violations, despite large crowds congregating at the Wharf, 14th Street, and the National Mall. MPD has said they are focusing on educating the public about the Mayor’s order.
Maryland began Phase One of its reopening today, allowing for certain recreational activities like fishing and golf, as well as resuming some elective surgical procedures. Governor Ralph Northam is expected to announce today whether Virginia will begin Phase One of its reopening Friday, which would allow certain non-essential businesses to reopen with social-distancing measures in place. Currently, Northern Virginia is excluded from that reopening plan; the DC metro region will be allowed to defer reopening until May 29.