It has been well over a month since we last received an executive order from Mayor Bowser. The District of Columbia has been working hard to flatten the curve together, and finally, relief from our three-month ordeal is within sight. We are not out of the woods yet though; just yesterday, May 27th, our country passed the 100,000 death mark, a somber reminder of just how deadly this disease has been. However, as the days get longer and the daily infection rate in DC slowly continues to drop, Mayor Bowser and the city government believe that is time to begin returning to some sense of normalcy. As most of you know by now, Mayor Bowser has introduced a four-phase plan to reopen DC, with requirements that need to be met for each phase to be initiated. Thankfully, Mayor Bowser has just issued Executive Order 2020-067 which declares phase 1 will begin on Friday, May 29th.
Phase 1 will not be a full-scale opening of the city; the plan is to slowly re-implement different aspects of life in order to not cause a resurgence in infections. To begin, the stay-at-home order will be lifted, meaning travel outside your home will be ok for non-essential reasons; cause we know everyone has been following that rule to the letter. Parks, dog parks playing fields, tennis courts, and tracks will be re-opened as well; however, playgrounds, recreation centers, and public pools will still remain close during this first phase. In addition, stores that were declared “non-essential” will be permitted to open back up for curbside pick-up. While these attractions will be back, Mayor Bowser urges the people of DC to continue social distancing and wearing a mask when in close proximity to others. Just because places are starting to open does not mean social distancing is over. Six Feet!!!
We know plenty of people have been ignoring the closed signs on parks and tennis courts anyway, so let’s just get into the two parts of phase 1 that everyone really cares about. For those tired of their home cooking and their wobbly kitchen table, there is good news! Phase 1 will allow for restaurants to re-open for seating in outdoor areas! Yes, you read that right. You will be able to sit at a table and order from a menu again, provided it is outdoors of course. For restaurant owners, here is a low down on how this needs to work in order to protect everyone’s health: no more than six people to a table, tables must be six feet apart, and all tables must be sanitized between each party being seated. While not required, Mayor Bowser is also recommending that restaurants use a reservation system to avoid crowds of waiting customers. Obviously, everyone is going to try and go out to restaurants to eat as soon as possible, which will create long waits and large crowding issues. Please, don’t take out your frustration on restaurant employees. Their lives have been just as turned upside down as yours and they don’t deserve to be berated.
Now, for the big one. Drum roll please…barbershops, hair salons, whatever you want to call them, have been greenlit to reopen on an appointment-only basis! That’s right, your wacky hair “experiment” has drawn near the end of its life. Like the restaurants, there are going to be some rules for reopening, including the appointment only requirement. Customers will need to wait outside (you can guess how many feet apart) and only one customer per stylist/barber is allowed inside. Additionally, other salon activities like waxing, nail care, and eyebrow threading are still banned under phase 1.
So, in summation, you can go to the park legally, you can eat outside at restaurants, and you can shave off the afro you’ve been growing in a competent manner. Each of these changes has guidelines that need to be followed so we all can move on to phase 2 as quickly and safely as possible. Failure to follow these guidelines could cost you or your business in fines or license suspensions, so if you are a business owner make sure you follow the new rules. As always, if you have questions about the new executive order, or are facing any legal ramifications for allegedly violating the new order, Scrofano Law PC is here to assist you. As a leader in DC Social Distancing Law, it is our mission to defend the people of DC and to help everyone safely get back on our feet again. Summer is near, the curve is flattening, and our country is slowly beginning our recovery. Now is when we need to work together more than ever to make sure we do not slip backward. Life may still be a little weird, Nationals Park is still closed and the bars are still shuttered, but we might be getting some Capitals action soon! Follow the rules, stay six feet apart, and if everything goes well, phase 2 could be just three weeks away. Stay safe and stay healthy DC!