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Phase 2 of reopening for DC starts Monday. Here's what's changing

Restaurants and retail can have indoor seating, parks are set to reopen, and libraries are coming back. But many restrictions are still in place.

WASHINGTON — Phase 2 of reopening D.C. begins on Monday, June 22, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Friday.

Originally, Phase 2 was expected to kick off on Friday, June 19. 

While coronavirus transmission numbers have lowered  -- and there have been 13 straight days of community decline of the virus --  one metric that still hasn't been met is contact tracing capacity.

According to Bowser, DC is currently at a 15.5% contact tracing capacity as of June 15. That percentage needs to increase to over 90% for Phase 2 guidelines.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the District, contact tracers will need demographic information, health information, and risk factors to track and make contact with positive cases and close contacts, officials said. These are a part of the city's phase one goal and to control and prevent the spread of the virus.

According to the latest data, D.C. has now been on a long-term downward trend since May 21.

“We are going at the pace that we think the data says we should, " Bowser said. "If the data trends the way it currently is, I will make these guidelines in Phase 2 effective Monday."

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Credit: DC Health

In Phase 2, telework is still encouraged within the District, and mass gatherings can grow from 10 people to 50. Any more than 50 is still prohibited, but certain activities like churches are allowed to increase that number if requested and approved from a waiver.

Here's what's changing and reopening for Phase 2 in the District:

  • Restaurants, non-essential retail and beverage establishments can open indoors at 50% capacity. Indoor dining must have tables six feet apart, with no more than 6 people to a table.
  • Gyms, yoga studios and dance classes can reopen with restrictions like having only 5 people allowed per 1,000 sq. feet and an emphasis on smaller group classes.
  • Movie theaters, entertainment venues are to remain closed.  Certain programs and events could reopen if the venue applies and is approved for a waiver. Live music would also need to be approved by a waiver.
  • Houses of worship, churches can resume at maximum 50% capacity, with choirs discouraged. 
  • Libraries can reopen at 50 percent capacity.
  • Pools: D.C. public pools will reopen for structured activities like lessons, lap swimming. The pools will not be reopened for recreational use beyond those structured activities until "likely mid-July."
  • Parks and fields may reopen for activities, including playgrounds. 
  • Nail salons, tanning and waxing: Open by appointment only with stations at least six feet apart
  • Colleges and universities in D.C. can begin reopening, as long as they have submitted their reopening plan to D.C. Council.
  • Camps can reopen as long as there are no more than 10 people to a cohort.

When asked if it was too early to start Phase 2 reopening plans due to last week's protests, which saw massive crowds around the area and likely will cause a spike in cases, Bowser said D.C. can always pull back from Phase 2 changes.

D.C. Council has a full list of the requirements for waiver approval, as well as additional guidelines on waiver applications here.

RELATED: D.C. and Northern Virginia have first full day in phase one, first time many can sit down at a restaurant again

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