ReOpen DC Advisory Group Recommends Four-Stage Reopening Plan
On May 21, 2020, the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, led by Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Michael Chertoff, issued recommendations to Mayor Muriel Bowser for reopening the city in four stages. While the plan does not include specific dates, Mayor Bowser announced that Stage One could begin as early as May 29, 2020.
Stage One would begin once Washington, D.C. has experienced declining community transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and developed adequate health care and public health capacity to treat and perform contact tracing for those affected without surge capacity. During Stage One, business functions with low risk of transmission, such as golf courses, restaurants with outdoor seating, curbside pickup for non-essential retail establishments, and appointment-only hair services should be permitted with “strong safeguards,” such as mandatory social distancing, use of masks, and stringent sanitation and hygiene practices.
Stage Two would begin once D.C. begins experiencing only localized transmission. During Stage Two, office spaces would be permitted to operate with up to 25% capacity, restaurants would begin to open indoor seating, non-essential retailers would be permitted to open in-store services (up to five people per 1,000 square feet), and nail salons and massage spas would be permitted to reopen. In addition, childcare and pre-K-12 schooling would resume with limits on children per classroom. “Strong safeguards” would need to stay in place.
Stage Three would begin once D.C. begins experiencing sporadic transmission of the virus in the communities. Gatherings of up to 250 people would be permitted, and bars would be allowed to reopen. Offices, restaurants, and non-essential retailers would be permitted to operate at increased capacity. In addition, childcare and schooling would continue to expand. “Strong safeguards” would need to stay in place.
Stage Four would begin only when a vaccine or cure becomes widely available or COVID-19 has been eliminated. During Stage Four, all activities and business functions would resume without requiring COVID-19 related safeguards.
The ReOpen DC Recommendations include Appendices with specific guidance for many types of businesses and facilities during each of the four stages, including places of worship, museums, theaters, bars and nightclubs, entertainment, sports, hotels, gyms, commercial office spaces, residential real estate, restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, food trucks, shopping malls, retail establishments, hair salons, nail salons, couriers, and transit service providers.