WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday morning that the District's Public Health Emergency order has been extended until May 20, 2021.
The previous emergency order was set to expire on March 31, 2021, but was extended as the District remains in a modified Phase 2 of reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency order should not be confused with a stay-at-home order.
The mayor first declared a public health emergency order on March 11, 2020 as the first case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus was present in the District.
Currently, in Phase 2, telework is still encouraged within the District, and mass gatherings are permitted up to 50 people. Certain activities, like churches, are allowed to increase that number if requested and approved by a waiver.
Bowser announced Monday afternoon during her weekly news briefing that she is loosening up several COVID restrictions in the District starting March 22 regarding outdoor gatherings, restaurant alcohol sales, indoor dining and recreational sports.
Beginning March 22, outdoor gatherings can now include up to 50 people if they can still socially distance. Indoor gatherings, according to the mayor, must be in accordance with DC Health and the guidance provided by the CDC.
Bowser said 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.”
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.
Click the video below to watch the full mayor's presser: