Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Post readers have been asking our journalists questions about the virus and the local, state, federal and global responses to it. We’ve received well over 10,000 questions, and we’ve endeavored to answer as many as possible.

As the virus continues to ravage the region and the country even as local governments race to vaccinate as many people as they can, many of us have more questions than ever before. Below, we strive to answer some of your queries about what is allowed — and what is safe — in this unusual season in Washington. If you have questions about vaccine distribution in the region, we answer those here.

New daily reported cases and deaths in the District

For a detailed look at cases and deaths, see The Post’s interactive map here.

What are the current restrictions in the District?

Private indoor gatherings are capped at 10 people, with outdoor gatherings limited to 50. Restaurants must close at midnight. Indoor dining capacity is capped at 25 percent or no more than 250 people, whichever is fewer. Houses of worship can host services for up to 250 people, if their venues are large enough. Outdoor religious gatherings have no cap.

D.C. residents can shop in retail establishments and get haircuts and manicures as long as they wear masks when possible and the businesses follow various restrictions on crowd size and cleaning procedures. Non-essential retail businesses are limited to 25 percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer. Indoor group fitness classes can operate with up to 10 people in addition to the trainer, while outdoor group fitness classes can operate up to 50 people, in addition to the trainer. Fitness centers are limited to 25 percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer. Playgrounds are open. Child care centers can operate with the same child to staff ratios as before the pandemic. Museums and the National Zoo can operate with a maximum of 250 people in indoor spaces. Libraries can reopen at 25 percent capacity, with no more than 250 people inside at any time — whichever is fewer. Movie theaters can operate with up to 25 people in an auditorium and 25 percent capacity cap.

Are there enough hospital beds in the District?

Daily hospital bed statistics can be found here.

Have any variants of the virus been found in the District?

Yes. On Feb. 11, Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt announced that the variants first discovered in the United Kingdom and in South Africa have been found in the city for the first time. Three people were confirmed to have the variant from the U.K., and one was confirmed to have the variant from South Africa.

How can I get tested for the virus?

Many of the tests conducted in the District each day happen at private doctor’s offices, so if you have a primary care provider, calling your doctor is the best first step.

If you are looking for a free public testing location, the District offers tests every weekday and some weekends at firehouses and other walk-up and drive-through sites throughout the city. Check here to find out which testing sites are open on the day you are interested in visiting.

Can I travel in and out of the city?

Yes. The District relaxed the rules for out-of-state travel. If you travel to another state, you are required to quarantine at your home upon returning until you can get a negative coronavirus test, generally three to five days after your trip. If you prefer not to get tested for the coronavirus, you should stay home for two weeks after traveling. Those who are fully vaccinated and have waited 14 days after their final dose are not required to quarantine after they travel out of the D.C. region as long as it’s been within 90 days of the last dose.

If you want to host visitors from outside the D.C. region, the District’s rules require that your guests get a negative coronavirus test at home before they come here, and if they are staying for longer than three days, that they again get tested while they are in the District. They can use the city’s public testing sites free.

Is it safe to travel by airplane, train or bus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it’s safe to travel once you’ve been fully vaccinated against coronavirus. However, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still says she does not recommend travel in general. “I would advocate against general travel overall," she said at a White House briefing April 2. "Our guidance is silent on recommending or not recommending fully vaccinated people travel. Our guidance speaks to the safety of doing so.”

For those who are not yet vaccinated, the CDC is recommending that people avoid travel if it’s not necessary.

Are D.C. schools holding classes in person?

Yes. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, students and teachers returned to in-person learning at D.C. public schools. The school system had expected more than 9,000 of its 52,000 students to return to classrooms that day, but attendance was much lower, in part because of a two-hour delay for snow. The majority of charter school students remain in virtual learning.

Various safety measures have been put in place for returning students, including grouping them in cohorts of no more than 11 people and requiring masks and social distancing. Many teachers remain opposed to returning to the classroom in person; Washington teachers union President Elizabeth Davis has told her members to show up for class if they can, and that the union would closely watch any safety complaints teachers made.

Do I have to wear a mask in public in the District?

Yes. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) strengthened the mask requirement in July, requiring everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask in all businesses, in offices where any other people are working, in taxis or public transit vehicles, in common spaces in apartment buildings and in crowded outdoor settings. “Persons leaving their residences shall wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time,” the order says.

Is it safe to eat in a restaurant, go shopping, hit the gym or attend a religious service?

Public health experts say any indoor spaces have higher transmission risks than being outdoors. Masking, social distancing and limited capacity can reduce the risk of transmission indoors, but it cannot eliminate it.

The CDC recommends not visiting any of these places if you are feeling ill and to check in advance about mask policies.

Is it safe to eat in a tent outdoors at a restaurant?

The risk of transmission depends on who else is in the tent with you. If it’s a pod limited to only the diners in your household, your transmission risk is less than if multiple tables are seated inside the same sealed tent. Although outdoors, if the tent is closed off to the elements it could create poor ventilation akin to dining indoors. Experts recommend wearing your mask whenever not actively eating and drinking.

How is the city distributing vaccines?

The District plans to begin vaccinating everyone 16 or older beginning April 12. Currently, the city is vaccinating residents 65 and older, people 16 or older with serious health problems, such as cancer, diabetes or kidney or liver disease, people and staffers in congregate settings such as group homes and homeless shelters, and many groups of essential workers, including firefighters, police officers, health-care workers, teachers and grocery store workers. Children’s National opened a waitlist for 16- and 17-year-olds with medical conditions who qualify for the vaccine. Only 200 spots will be available on the waitlist at a time; Diana Troese, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said new spots may open daily.

The longest-running federal relationship in the city is with Giant; CVS locations in the District also joined the federal program recently.

Giant stores have had trouble using their full allotment of doses, to the point that they recently donated 1,000 doses to Johns Hopkins and batches to other hospitals and nonprofits to make sure all their doses would be used.

Residents who qualify can sign up for appointments at or can call 855-363-0333 to make an appointment by phone.

Starting in March, the city began a system based on preregistration. District residents sign up for the new system either online or by phone, providing their age, health conditions, work role and Zip code. The health department will process the requests and send each person an email or text message or call them when it is their turn to sign up for a vaccine appointment. The system will continue prioritizing residents of certain Zip codes.

Senior citizens and people with qualifying health conditions in the District can also make a vaccine appointment through numerous health systems and nonprofit clinics, including Howard University, Sibley and George Washington University health systems; you can find links to those clinics’ registration pages here.

More answers to questions about how coronavirus vaccines are being distributed in the region can be found here.

Erin Cox and Antonio Olivo contributed to this report.