D.C. Drags Out Process to Fully Reopen: ‘City Is Not in Lockdown’

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at a news conference in Washington on Saturday, March 7, 2020, to announce the first presumptive positive case of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) will provide an update next week on whether the city is ready to lift further coronavirus restrictions that continue to wreak havoc on the local economy, resulting in layoffs and some businesses shutting down permanently.

“Our metrics indicate we are still experiencing moderate community spread and less than sufficient capacity and community engagement to move into Phase 3,” a spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Health told Breitbart News via email Friday.

The comments came in response to Breitbart News asking what it will take to move to the next reopening stage.

“Updated metrics will be released next week,” the spokesperson added.

D.C. began a phased reopening on May 29 and moved into Phase Two on June 22.

There are still coronavirus restrictions in place that prevent non-essential businesses, namely restaurants and bars, from operating at full capacity and limit the size of gatherings, among other things.

Nevertheless, the Bowser administration official insisted, “The city is not in lockdown. The city has been monitoring the data to inform the safe opening of businesses and activities.”

Earlier this month, the Democrat mayor suggested that she is in no rush to end the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease)-related curbs prohibiting non-essential businesses from operating fully.

“I think we all, as a city, need to be focused on getting kids back to school on November 9, and we shouldn’t expect life to go back to normal until kids are back in school,” Bowser told reporters September 4.

Per the recommendations of the Reopen DC Advisory Group, the city is following a four-stage approach to ending the coronavirus-related curbs that require an “effective vaccine or a cure” to return to at least a semblance of normalcy — move to the final reopening phase.

“The District of Columbia is closely monitoring key public health signs to guide reopening the District in a way that is safe, measured, data-driven, and sustainable,” the health spokespeson told Breitbart News.

“The timing of when to remove or reinstate social (physical) distancing and other policies to slow the spread of COVID-19 [coronavirus] will be determined in part by the reopening metrics shown” in the online DC Reopening Tracker.

According to the tracker, the city has satisfied the vast majority (5) of the seven data-driven conditions, or gating criteria, required to move onto the next stage, Phase 3.

D.C. still needs 14-days of a sustained decrease in cases within the community and for 60 percent or more of new positive cases to stem from individuals already identified as close contacts of other positive cases that have quarantined.

The city is far from meeting the latter threshold, with about five percent of cases linked to quarantined contacts.

There have been no significant spikes in D.C. infections in recent months, but the seven-day average number of cases has increased in recent days, data from the city’s health department showed as of Friday night.

Bowser issued a lockdown edict that went into effect on April 1, noting, “Any individual who willfully violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.”

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