What has reopened so far?
Phase 1 reopening allowed restaurants to resume outdoor dining, barbershops and salons to open by appointment only with no indoor waiting allowed, and nonessential retailers to offer curbside sales.
Parks, tennis courts, dog parks and fields are open, but not public pools, recreational centers and playgrounds, and contact sports are banned on city fields.
What’s reopened under Phase 2?
Bowser said beginning Monday, restaurants and stores will be allowed to operate indoors at 50 percent capacity. Gyms, tanning salons and tattoo parlors can reopen as long as they adhere to social distancing measures. The city also reopens playgrounds and libraries as part of Phase 2, and is asking universities and theaters to submit reopening plans. Public pools will open, for lap swimming and lessons only, in mid-July.
Under Phase 2, mass gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Houses of worship are allowed to have up to 100 people or operate at 50 percent capacity, whichever is less, but the city will continue to encourage virtual services. Camps can operate with restrictions — no more than 10 to a group, and they must continue to practice social distancing and other measures.
With no single set of national standards for reopening economies, the District set its own standards to move through different phases of recovery. Here are the metrics city officials are using to determine when to enter the second phase of reopening.
What restrictions are still in place?
Bowser lifted the stay-at-home order, but residents must still maintain six feet of distance from others and wear face coverings while in businesses.
Hookah bars and smoking establishments remain closed.
“It’s not an on-and-off switch. We will not be able to go back to life as we enjoyed it in February,” Bowser said. “But we are incrementally adding activities back in our lives, which we all miss, and we are all eager to get back to.”
New daily deaths per 100,000 residents
Are fewer people getting sick?
As was the case for entering Phase 1, the District looked for a two-week decline in the “community spread” of the virus to reopen. That is not the same as a decline in the daily positive test results the city reports.
Community spread is measured by focusing on when patients report first experiencing covid-19 symptoms — excluding the residents of nursing homes and other facilities who are unlikely to spread the coronavirus outside their buildings — and using a rolling five-day average of new cases to account for daily fluctuations.
LaQuandra Nesbitt, the city’s top public health official, said this is a better approach because the daily number of test results do not show when someone contracted the virus. City officials originally said they wanted to see two weeks of declines in new confirmed cases.
How many people are being tested and testing positive?
The District had no specific targets for how widespread testing should be for entering the second phase of recovery. The city has a greater supply of tests than people seeking tests and had the ability to test all high-risk groups.
The District also wanted to see lower numbers of test results returning positive, which can be a sign the virus is waning in a community. To do so, the District measures what percentage of people test positive based on the day their samples were collected. This is to avoid data skewed by backlogs in labs reporting batches of test results stretching different days.
As of June 10, the District said it met its threshold to have a week of a positivity rate of less than 15 percent.
What about contact tracing?
The District wants to contact trace every newly infected person, conducting interviews within 24 hours to determine who may have been exposed to the virus through that person and therefore should be quarantined. Close contacts of the person should be interviewed within 48 hours.
Contact tracing loses its effectiveness once the virus becomes widespread in a community, but it can contain the spread of the contagious disease in early stages or once the number of new infections has declined.
D.C. embarked on a hiring blitz to grow its contact-tracing force to 300 by mid-June. The city’s goal is to contact more than 90 percent of people who have covid-19 within a day of their positive tests to ask them about their interactions with others.
Are D.C. hospitals prepared?
Hospitals in the District have avoided being overwhelmed by covid-19 cases, even though the city has experienced far more deaths per capita than neighboring counties. The city wants to ensure hospitals can handle an inevitable spike in infections when the shutdown restrictions are eased.
The District, as it needed to do to enter Phase 1, required hospitals to be operating below 80 percent of their usual capacity for two weeks in a row. Hospitals have been below 80 percent of their usual capacity for more than two weeks in a row, well beyond the seven days D.C. officials were looking for.
Julie Zauzmer contributed to this report.
Coronavirus news in D.C., Virginia and Maryland
The latest: More than two years into the pandemic, covid cases in the D.C. region are rising again, , while liberal Montgomery County asks who deserves credit for its robust covid response. Meanwhile, Black funeral directors still face a daunting amount of deaths from covid and the omicron wave has had an unequal toll in the DMV.
At-home tests: Here’s how to use at-home covid tests, where to find them and how they differ from PCR tests.