Washington DC will enter Phase One of reopening this Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in a press conference today. By reaching 14 days of sustained decline in Covid-19 community spread, the District has met all four of the criteria needed to safely begin the reopening process. DC also has sufficient hospital capacity, testing ability, and contact tracing ability.
Mayor Bowser stressed that Washingtonians should interpret this first stage as “stay at home light,” and that all residents should continue to follow current mask and social distancing guidelines. Though she doesn’t expect it to be an issue, Bowser said Phase One could be altered or DC could revert to a stay at home order if there’s a dramatic increase in Covid cases.
Here’s how Phase One will affect the city:
Nonessential retail: Stores may offer delivery and curbside pickup. Customers will not be allowed to enter the store.
Barbershops and hair salons: These businesses can provide hair-related services by appointment only. Stations must be six feet apart, and customers will not be permitted to wait inside. Waxing, threading, and nail care are still prohibited.
Restaurants: Any establishment that can safely serve food outside (including taverns and bars) will be permitted to do so. Tables must be six feet apart and all patrons must be seated. No more than six patrons are allowed at a table. The District is working on ways to provide outdoor dining spaces for restaurants that don’t currently have any.
Parks: Dog parks, golf courses, parks, tennis courts, tracks, and fields will reopen. Playgrounds, public pools, and recreation centers will remain closed. Contact sports like football, basketball, and soccer are still prohibited.
Streets: The District is working on a plan to close certain streets to vehicle traffic to provide more room for pedestrians, bikers, restaurants, stores, and recreational activities. More details about these plans are expected Friday.
Group gatherings: Gatherings of 10 or less are permitted. Groups are still expected to follow current mask and social distancing guidelines.
Childcare: Childcare centers should conduct a daily health screen for all children and staff entering the facility. Centers should ensure individuals keep six feet apart, and limit groups to 10 children per room. Partitions may be used to split up large rooms so multiple groups of 10 can be cared for.
Schools: Virtual learning will continue.