Washington DC To Begin Reopening A Week Early

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The mayor of the nation’s capital announced Wednesday that the city will begin reopening from coronavirus pandemic lockdowns Friday.

Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said that since the city has met key thresholds needed to contain new COVID-19 infections, D.C. will begin lifting restrictions starting 12:01 a.m. May 29, according to the Washington Post.

The phase one reopening plan will allow D.C. to open up about a week before the city was scheduled to begin opening June 8, the publication reported.

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Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. reported 109 new coronavirus deaths and 1,715 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the total in the DMV area to 4,118 deaths and 97,078 cases.

Bowser called the order “stay-at-home light,” noting that groups of 10 or more people are still prohibited and a variety of activities within the city are still restricted, according to NBC Washington.

Restaurants may serve customers at outdoor seating with tables at least six feet apart, the publication reports. No more than six people may be seated at one table, and customers must be seated when they place orders and are served.

Bowser said that the city is formulating “a process to reimagine sidewalks and roads” for restaurants without sidewalk seating.

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The new order allows barbershops and salons to operate by appointment only, with “no waiting inside the shop,” according to NBC Washington. Track and field spaces, tennis courts, parks, and golf courses may reopen, but playgrounds, public pools, and recreation centers will remain closed. The city will not allow contact sports like basketball, football, and soccer.

Retail stores that are considered non-essential can offer front-door pickup or curbside pickup, but customers will not be allowed inside these stores.

“Bars, nightclubs, mixed-use facilities, and private social clubs” must “remain closed except for minimum business operations, curbside pickup or delivery, or home-based services,” NBC Washington reports from the mayor’s order.

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