Mayor Muriel Bowser will lift the majority of COVID-19 restrictions on local businesses and public spaces next Friday.
Bowser said during a press conference Monday that the District will remove limits on capacity, activity, time and other pandemic-related restrictions for restaurants, places of worship, gyms, schools and other public and commercial venues May 21. She said capacity restrictions for bars, nightclubs and sports and entertainment venues will stay in place until she expects to lift them June 11.
The move would strip away restrictions that have moderated public life in the District for more than a year, during which restaurants have faltered with fewer customers and public gatherings have shrunk in size. Bowser said masks will still be required at the venues, but businesses will look to rebound with full capacity now allowed across the city where COVID-19 cases have continued to drop.
“We will be turning on substantially more activity in the District, and we anticipate three weeks following that on June 11 that we will be able to turn up activity in the District all the way,” Bowser said during the press conference. “Restrictions on public and commercial activity, including capacity limits, types of activities and time restrictions, will be lifted.”
The District reported just 15 positive COVID-19 cases Monday, one of the lowest daily counts since September, according to The Washington Post. Reopening guidelines in the city have continued to loosen restrictions leading up to the announcement, even at GW where officials relaxed gathering limits last week to allow outdoor groups of up to 50 people.
Bowser said D.C. is “fast approaching” a COVID-19 infection rate of fewer than five cases per 100,000 people, classified as “minimal community spread.” She credited the decision to remove restrictions with higher vaccination rates, with more than 225,000 people receiving the vaccine since December and low rates of COVID-19 transmission.