D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a March 15 press conference on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a March 15 press conference on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday the eligibility expansion of residents for coronavirus vaccinations and the easing of restrictions on activities in the city due to favorable public health metrics.

People in Phase 1b Tier 3 and Phase 1c Tier 1, which includes postal, front-line transit and court workers, in addition to people ages 16 to 64 with qualified medical conditions are eligible to be inoculated this week, WTOP reported.

Beginning March 29, people in Phase 1c Tier 2 consisting of public transit workers, ride-share drivers, logistics workers and members of the media who report in the community will qualify for immunization.

On April 12, Phase 1c Tier 3 residents who are essential workers at higher education institutions, construction and information technology workers, will become eligible for vaccinations. Bowser said on May 1, everyone 16 and older and not in a prior phase will be eligible for vaccination.

D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said the city is still getting limited supplies of the vaccine from manufacturers but people in their phases can still set an appointment for inoculation, WTOP reported.

Bowser announced specifics on the easing of restrictions after she said the public health emergency had been extended until May 20, according to WTOP.

– Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 are not permitted and low-to-moderate contact high and middle school sports can resume next week.
– Indoor and outdoor fitness classes can resume with up to 10 and 50 people, respectively. Gyms can operate at up to 25% capacity or up to 250 people, whichever is lower.
– Alcohol can be sold at restaurants now up until midnight and movie theaters can open up to 25 people or 25%, whichever is lower, per auditorium.
– Starting March 22, restaurants can open for indoor dining at 25% of capacity or up to 250 people.
– Businesses can begin applying for live-entertainment waivers with live performances starting next week.

Monday was the first day for professional teams to seek waivers for crowd size at games. D.C. United was the first pro team to have its waiver approved Monday afternoon for its home opener against the New York F.C. on April 17 with up to 2,000 fans allowed at Audi Field, while the Nationals will host the New York Mets on April 1 at Nationals Park with up to 5,000 fans, 10% of the park’s capacity.

The teams were asked to implement anti-coronavirus protocols such as enforcing social distancing, mask-wearing and preventing congregating near restrooms and concession stands.

In regard to schools, Nesbitt said students and staff are strongly encouraged to minimize contact during the day. Some extracurricular activities such as drama and choir will be permitted but participants must be 10 feet apart.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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