WASHINGTON — Despite a new peak for COVID-19 cases in the District over the Memorial Day weekend, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said “we can still make it” to the planned Phase 1 reopening on Friday.
The District has been targeting a 14-day trend showing decreasing cases in order to pave the way to entering Phase 1 –a partial reopening that would ease the restrictions on non-essential businesses; including restaurants and salons.
D.C.'s Department of Health released the coronavirus numbers for the District on what should be day 14 of a 14-day decline. Instead, a new peak was detected with 132 cases, pushing the trend back to 11 days of decline.
Mayor Bowser talked with WUSA9 Monday afternoon to discuss the plans for the District potentially moving toward Phase 1 this Friday.
"We know we had a small setback over the weekend where cases between Friday and Saturday went up beyond what was expected. DOH looked at the data and determined a reset back to Day 11," Bowser said.
On Monday afternoon, Bowser said that Department of Health officials reported a decrease in cases – which would put the District on Day 12.
Just last week, Bowser said that if officials continue to see a downward trend, she would possibly announce Friday’s Phase 1 as early as Tuesday of this week.
Bowser indicated that D.C. can still meet the criteria for reopening.
"We can still make 14 days this week if we continue to see decreases," Bowser said.
Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have entered Phase 1 of their reopening plans, while the District and its suburbs in those states have maintained stay-at-home measures, and kept “non-essential” businesses closed.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and her coronavirus task force said Thursday the community spread of the virus has declined for 11 days, which is near the 14-day metric needed to begin reopening.
The current stay-at-home order for D.C. is in place through June 8. Mayor Bowser said a final decision on whether D.C. would move forward with reopening next week would come on Tuesday.
Mayor Bowser and the ReOpen D.C. Advisory Group have laid out what the District would look like under a phased-in approach to reopening. They stressed that all of this could change and that a final decision on what each Stage of reopening looks like would also come Tuesday.
Updates on coronavirus cases come from health departments between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. every day.
"It's not an on and off switch, we will not be able to go back to life as we enjoyed in February," Bowser said. "But we are incrementally adding activities back in our lives, which we all miss and we are all eager to get back to."
Here's what that first Stage of the reopening plan is recommended to look like for the District:
Restaurants and bars
Under Bowser's recommended Stage 1 reopening, restaurants are still able to have takeout services as well as alcohol delivery. Nightclubs and bars are to stay closed until Stage 3, which depends on the success and social distancing of the first two stages.
- Outdoor table service only with physical safeguards to provide distancing
- Maximum table size of 6
- Buffets, standing room bars prohibited
- More flexibility for restaurants to change the type of license they hold within the food service category
- Relaxed criteria for restaurants to expand outdoor seating on patios
- Customers encouraged to leave name and time of arrival
Stage 2 of the reopening plan would allow restaurants to have up to 50% capacity with bar seating permitted as long as patrons are six feet apart. You still couldn't stand at the bar, and party sizes for tables would increase from 6 to 10.
Food trucks are allowed as long as customers are social distancing. Pre-orders are encouraged to minimize lines and gathering.
Grocery Stores + Farmers Markets
Grocery stores and farmers markets will continue to operate under social distancing guidelines in Stage 1 of the recommended reopening plan. Masks are still required and you still need to be six feet apart from others while shopping.
Curbside pickup and delivery options are still highly encouraged, and buffet and salad bars prohibited. Stage 2 of the reopening approach would slowly reintroduce the salad bar and hot food buffets.
Waivers for operating farmers' markets, like those at the Wharf, have been extended. The first stage of reopening would expand what markets can offer, including food prepared at the market rather than prepacked and customers able to choose their own product that 's not pre-bagged.
READ: A full breakdown of what the recommended reopening looks like for food services in DC:
Salons and Barbershops
Barbers and hair salons are to reopen with social distancing in place and by appointment only. The ReOpen DC Advisory group recommended that a maximum of 5 people are allowed in for every 1,000 square feet of the business.
Masks are still required as well as physical distancing. Nail salons, massage parlors, and spas are not recommended to reopen until Stage 2 of the reopening plan and would follow the same 5 people per 1,000 sq. foot guideline.
When could we see the next phases reopen?
Health officials are waiting to look for a continued 14-day downward trend in hospitalization rates and confirmed cases, and said they will monitor the success of Stage 1 before making plans to continued to the next steps.
Summer camps, museums, and exhibits and nightclubs are to remain closed until those phases. Work from home and distance learning is still in place until Stage 2 begins.
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