DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says nation’s capital could enter phase 1 of reopening May 29 if decline continues

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Thursday that after more than 10 days of declining COVID-19 cases, the nation’s capital may be on the verge of announcing phase one of reopening.

While neighboring Maryland and Virginia have begun their first tentative steps to ease the restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, the region’s metropolitan center and its suburbs were delayed by swelling case numbers.

For all three jurisdictions, the benchmark for considering reopening has been 14 days of declining cases – which conforms with White House and CDC guidelines.

RELATED: DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case total latest

After 11 consecutive days in the District, the mayor announced on Monday that if the trend continues, they may begin considering reopening.

Bowser said they will continue monitoring trends throughout the weekend, and provide an update - and possibly an announcement - on Tuesday.

The mayor – and the Reopen DC Advisory Committee, which is co-chaired by Susan Rice and Michael Chertoff – also revealed a glimpse of what reopening would look like.

The committee recommended that the District enter stage one with the following benchmarks and guidelines in place:

- Declining virus transmission

- Key low-risk activities with strong safeguards

- Gatherings limited to 10 people

- Remote work still strongly encouraged

- Travel heavily discouraged

Phase one will include:

- Work from home strongly recommended

- Restaurants can open with outdoor seating, physical distancing and other safeguards

- Bars and nightclubs remain closed

- Non-essential retailers can provide curbside delivery

- Barbershops and salons can reopen with strong safeguards and physical distancing (5 people per 1,000 feet)

- Limited childcare opening

- Preschool K-12 and adult education will be conducted with distance learning only

- Higher education can be conducted with limited on campus activities

- Summer camps remain closed

- Select libraries can conduct limited curbside service

- Museums and exhibits will remain closed

- Places of worship would continue with virtual services or groups under 10 people

- Outdoor gatherings (parades, etc.) would remain shut down

- Indoor entertainment venues would remain closed

- Gyms and workout studios would remain closed

- Parks, fields, tennis courts, tracks and golf course would remain closed

- Communal pools would remain closed

- District opens additional in-person services with safeguards and expands virtual services with safeguards

- Non-essential shared transportation highly discouraged

- Public transit would meet demand and allow for physical distancing

Additional details are available on the Reopen DC web page.

D.C. has been under stay-at-home orders since March 30. Last week, the order was extended to June 8.

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Violation of the order carried a potential fine of $5,000.“Non-essential” businesses – such as bars and restaurants – were closed a week earlier except for delivery service, shortly after Maryland and Virginia announced similar restrictions.

The District has confirmed more than 7,500 cases of COVID-19 – and the virus has been responsible for the deaths of more than 400 residents.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Stay home when you are sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Here is everything you need to create your own hand sanitizer, according to WHO:

According to WHO, these alcohol-based handrubs are a known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands.

The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

- Ethanol 96% or isopropyl alcohol 99.8%: 8333 ml or 2.2 gallons of ethanol or 7515 ml or 2 gallons of isopropyl alcohol

- Hydrogen peroxide 3%, which is used to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in the solution and is not an active substance for hand antisepsis: 417 ml or 1.76 cups

- Glycerol 98%, which acts as a moisturizer: 145 ml or 0.6 cups

- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water

Click here for the full instructions on how to make your own hand sanitizer.



APP USERS: Track D.C., Maryland and Virginia coronavirus cases by county with this interactive map here