D.C’s Pandemic ‘Turning Point’ Starts Tomorrow


Beginning 5 a.m., Friday, May 21, D.C. lifts nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on public and commercial activities, including capacity limits, types of activities, and time restrictions.

The loosening does not include bars, nightclubs or large entertainment and sports venues may operate only at 50-percent capacity until June 11, when these venues may then operate at 100 percent.

“May 21 is a turning point,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser on May 10. “There will be no capacity requirements after that for almost all activities, including libraries, museums, gyms and fitness centers, pools, recreation centers, places of worship, business meetings, schools, child care and the like.”

As far as the sometimes confusing requirements for wearing masks, Bowser announced on May 17: “Beginning today, fully vaccinated people [two weeks after the second dose] only need to wear masks or social distance in places where it is required. Fully vaccinated people should continue to stay home if they are sick. Even if you are fully vaccinated, continue to take a mask with you when you leave home. Then, respect the signs. If a business posts a sign indicating that masks are required, then you must wear a mask to go in.”

While many businesses do not require a mask inside — such as national companies CVS and Trader Joe’s or local ones like Elle-Rue on P Street — the following places still require masks: healthcare facilities, public schools, libraries, public transportation, airports, airplanes, prisons.

The mayor also announced a timeline for D.C. government employees to return to office work. Up to 50 percent will return by June 7. The directive stated: “Executive, Excepted and Management Service employees will be required to be in office the majority of the week. By July, all employees are required to be set and working in new in-office work schedules.”

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