In a tweet Friday morning, Mayor Bowser announced that DC will be moving into phase 2 on Monday, June 22. The move will come exactly one month after phase 1 began on May 22. DC has seen a continued decline in new COVID-19 infections over the past few weeks, even as testing has become more widely available across the city. Phase 2 will see the reopening of many parts of the city, albeit at a reduced capacity of course. While we are seeing a decline in infections in our city, COVID-19 infections are starting spike across many parts of the country. As you take advantage of the new openings next week and into the future, please remember to keep up social distancing requirements. Every business that is opening will be expected to uphold social distancing requirements, from masks to 6 feet distances. We will discuss the biggest re-openings below, but for a full list of the dos and don’ts of phase 2, plus important requirements (sign postings) for business owners, please visit DC’s phase 2 website.
As many people may have noticed from Maryland’s phase 2 reopening, DC’s phase 2 will also include the reopening of indoor restaurants at 50% capacity. If you are tired of seeing the number “6,” look away now. Tables will be required to remain at least 6 feet apart; parties will be limited to 6 people or less as well. As with phase 1, Mayor Bowser is encouraging restaurants to require reservations in order to limit crowding as much as possible. Also in continuation from phase 1 will be the requirement that restaurants save customer’s contact information and arrival times in order to aid the city in its contact tracing efforts. Obviously this seems a little Orwellian, but the information will only be used should another COVID-19 outbreak stem from a business.
Once you’ve eaten at your favorite restaurant, you will probably want to enjoy the suffocating DC summer humidity, especially since phase 2 will help ring in the first week of summer in the Capital. To facilitate this, city playing fields and playgrounds will be allowed to reopen with specific guidelines in place (no league sports yet unfortunately for those looking to get drunk at softball). Additionally, later in phase 2, likely mid-July, DC public pools will be allowed to reopen for lap swimming and swim lessons. If the oppressive heat is too much, don’t worry. Gyms and health clubs will also be allowed to reopen at smaller capacities (1 person per every 200 feet of floor space). However, locker rooms, showers, steam rooms/saunas will all remain closed.
Another big reopening in phase 2 will be museums and art galleries at lower capacities. Additionally, “nonessential” retail stores will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity, and personal grooming businesses like nail and tanning salons and tattoo parlors will be allowed to reopen on an appointment-only basis. Further, places of worship will be allowed to reopen their doors at either 50% capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is less. Finally, summer camps will be allowed to reopen with groups of 10 or fewer, and public libraries will be allowed to start reopening as well.
From the Mayor’s language and the details in the government orders, it seems like we will be on phase 2 for most, if not all of, this summer. While it is obviously not what we were hoping to hear, we will still be able to have an enjoyable, if a little abnormal, summer. As stated, all these new openings will require upholding of all social distancing requirements. We don’t want to lose the progress we have made and end back up at square one. As always, the health and safety of our city is the upmost importance. If anyone or any business knowingly violates Mayor Bowser’s new orders, they could be subjected to fines or suspension/revocation of business licenses. Should you or anyone you know fall into legal trouble with the city, or if you just have questions about the new order, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Scrofano Law PC. We are the premiere Social Distancing law firm in the city and are working round the clock to make sure the rights of the people of DC are protected. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay 6 feet apart DC!