DC mayor hopes city can begin first phase of reopening next week barring any peaks

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday she plans to allow her district to begin phase one of reopening on May 29 -- if positive trends continue.

After nearing the benchmark of 14 consecutive days of declining cases, Bowser said D.C. would begin to reopen next Friday “barring any peaks.”

Just one week ago, Bowser extended the state’s public health emergency in D.C. requiring residents to stay home until June 8.

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D.C. is the last holdout in the region to begin the reopening process, as Virginia and Maryland have started already. But Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam excluded Northern Virginia, which shares a border with D.C., from beginning to reopen until at least May 29. The Democratic governor said Wednesday he has not yet come to a decision whether the lockdown for northern Virginia will be extended beyond then.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the stay-at-home order on May 15 and replaced it with a safer-at-home public health advisory, allowing many businesses to open at a limited capacity.

Under phase one of reopening for the district, restaurants could open outdoor seating and non-essential retailers could open for curbside pickup. Barbershops and salons can reopen at a limited capacity, as well as child care. Work from home is still strongly encouraged.

D.C. has faced around 7,500 cases of coronavirus and 400 deaths.

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Meanwhile, the Senate has been back in Washington for two weeks and the House will be in session next week, though lawmakers have the option to vote by proxy.