Washington begins gradual reopening

Washington began the first phase of reopening after weeks of “stay at home” orders in the US capital to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On Friday, itunveiled a “reinvention” of its public spaces to allow restaurants and other business to share sidewalks and some streets with pedestrians and shoppers, reports Efe news.

With more people on the streets compared to the last few weeks, Washington welcomed the decision of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser of moving towards a gradual reopening, after the city witnessed a sustained decrease in COVID-19 infections.

In the District of Colombia, which includes Washington, at least 8,538 people have tested positive for the virus and 460 people have died.

In a population of 705,749, the pandemic has hit the black (3,991 cases) and Latino (2,272 cases) communities the hardest.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Bowser urged residents and businesses to share sidewalks and streets while maintaining social distancing, calling it “critical” to check the spread of the coronavirus.

She announced that during the first phase, restaurants could serve clients in open-air seating while maintaining physical distancing and other safety measures.

The municipal government has also reduced the speed limit for vehicles on the streets designated for buying products or the setting up of dining tables.

The order has come as a lifeline for many restaurants with authorized spaces on the streets where they can host dine-in services, as well as takeaway orders, and on Friday a few clients had begun trickling in.

The first phase of reopening has also allowed some other businesses to operate, including hairdressers, who were receiving clients only by appointment from Friday and enforcing other measures to adapt to the epidemic.