Bowser Announces Date, Guidance For Phase 2 Reopening

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WASHINGTON, DC — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed that if current trends continue she would sign an executive order to allow the District to enter phase two of the city's phased reopening on Monday.

"Our community can start thinking about what phase two of reopening looks like and get prepared," Bowser said, during a Wednesday morning press briefing.

D.C. Department of Health confirmed the District has achieved 13 days of a sustained decline in community spread of COVID-19, the illness associated with the new coronavirus. This is one of the criteria health officials have been monitoring to determine when the city would be able to enter phase two.

In addition, the city has maintained sufficient health care capacity and is trending in the right direction when it comes to contact tracing, Bowser said.

When phase two beings, the D.C. government will continue to operate in a modified telework posture, with more than half of government employees teleworking. The following services will also reopen:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will reopen Tuesday for in-person services;

  • Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) playgrounds and fields will reopen, with some specific guidelines in place;

  • Libraries will be able to slowly reopen for in-person visitation at various locations;

  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education staff will return to support child care services;

  • Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement staff will report for in-person services.

Bowser announced the following changes for District residents and businesses when phase two begins:

  • The number of people allowed at mass gatherings will increase to 50 people.

  • Nonessential businesses, including retailers, will be permitted to serve up to 50 customers inside their business and continue curbside service.

  • Personal services will continue to operate on an appointment-only basis and stations must be six feet apart. In addition, personal services like tanning, tattooing, waxing, threading, cryotherapy, facials, and nail salons will now be allowed to reopen.

  • Restaurants will be permitted to offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.

  • Fitness and recreation, gyms, and health clubs, yoga, dance, and workout studios, may open with a capacity limit of five people per 1,000 square feet. Classes must also be limited with a 10 foot distance between patrons.

  • DPR pools may open for structured activities, including lessons and lap swimming. Bowser has asked DPR to come up with a plan to offer classes at all age levels.

  • Playgrounds, courts and fields will be open for casual play. The D.C. government will not be permitting league sports, although low to moderate contact sports will be allowed for casual play.

  • Houses of worship are encouraged to offer online services. They will also be permitted to conduct indoor services at a 100 person or 50 percent capacity limit, whichever is less. D.C. Health encourages houses of worship to prohibit choirs or singing during their services. Sharing of items during the services is also prohibited.

  • Educational opportunities and camps may open with no more than 10 people in a cohort, with social distancing protocols and other safeguards in place.

  • Libraries may operate at 50 percent capacity.

  • Colleges and universities can reopen if they have submitted a plan to the Office of Planning that has been developed in consultation with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education and D.C. Health.

  • Theaters, cinemas and entertainment venues will remain closed. However, the District will offer a waiver process to consider operations at a venue-specific request.

According to D.C. Health, 70,086 COVID-19 tests have been administered in the District, 56,073 D.C. residents have been tested, and 1,155 have been cleared from isolation.

The District currently has 71 intensive care unit beds available out of 345 total intensive care unit beds. There are currently 202 in-use ventilators and 73 COVID-19 positive ICU patients.

Globally, more than 8.1 million people have been infected by COVID-19, and over 444,000 people have died, Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday morning. In the United States, more than 2.1 million people have been infected and over 116,000 people have died from COVID-19.

District residents should take the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

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This article originally appeared on the Washington DC Patch

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