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DC begins loosening restrictions on outdoor gatherings, alcohol sales, sports in DC

Mayor Muriel Bowser says there will be a check-in and reassessment of the new capacity limits and how they are working based on data in April.

WASHINGTON — Several COVID restrictions in the District are being loosened Monday, March 22. Those include restrictions regarding outdoor gatherings, restaurant alcohol sales, indoor dining and recreational sports.

As of Monday, outdoor gatherings can now include up to 50 people if they can still socially distance. Indoor gatherings, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser, must be in accordance with DC Health and the guidance provided by the CDC.

Bowser said last week during a press conference that there will be a check-in and reassessment of how the capacity for indoor and outdoor dining limits is working beginning in April.

“We have not crushed the virus in this city or this nation and we have to be mindful of that,” Bowser said. “We can’t go back to normal [yet] because this virus is still circulating in our city, people are still getting sick and going to the hospital and people are still dying.” 

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The mayor said alcohol will be able to be sold at restaurants until midnight under the city's new guidelines. Starting March 22, indoor dining at restaurants will increase to 25% capacity or up to 250 people. Restaurants are required to close by midnight, but alcohol can continue to be sold up until midnight, according to the mayor.

Tables inside restaurants and bars must continue to be six feet apart with up to six people per table. Diners are still not permitted to stand in the bar area. Bowser said she will also hold an April check-in with restaurants and bars in order to properly assess indoor capacity limits inside restaurants along with the ability to play live music.

In terms of sports and recreation, the mayor announced that professional sports may operate if they submit a waiver with plans for fans in attendance. Beginning Monday, the mayor said professional sports teams can re-apply to play and host fans. 

An April check-in will also be conducted to reassess fan capacity limits given the metrics and data for cases.

Additionally, Bowser announced that high school sports will able to resume under DCSAA guidelines on Monday. Field permits will be issued for the spring sports seasons. Starting March 22, some high school and middle school sports will start -- with applications opening for spring sports to include drills and practices. Low-to-moderate contact sports may occur on a casual basis with playgrounds opening.

The mayor also said there will be a limited number of DPR indoor recreation centers open for programs and reservation-only activity; as DPR fields are limited to 250 people.

Starting March 22, indoor group fitness classes can go up to 10 people, while outdoor fitness classes may have up to 50 people. At gyms, people are required to stand six feet apart with there being a 25% capacity limit -- or up to 250 people, whichever is less. City officials will conduct a check-in in order to fully reassess the maximum number of people allowed in indoor and outdoor group classes.

Click the video below to watch the full mayor's presser:

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