One year has come and gone since the COVID-19 pandemic closed down cities across the country, including D.C. and the surrounding counties. A drive across town on a typical bustling Saturday morning turned into an adventure into no man’s land in May 2020 — empty, downtown streets abandoned by human and vehicular traffic. There’s no need now to recall how much active outdoor life disappeared when others were losing theirs to a pandemic unlike anything seen in recent times.
Finally, the day hoped for is coming. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced she would lift restrictions on public and commercial activity on May 21 with bars, nightclubs and sports venues allowing 50% capacity by June 11. Maybe.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan received criticism for leading the area by reopening venues in the state in April. He reportedly did so because “the state had surpassed the milestone of 1 million vaccinated residents and had seen weeks of declining cases statewide — particularly in hard-hit nursing homes.” Gov. Ralph Northam delivered “good news” to Virginia residents where 1-in-3 are fully vaccinated. He plans to lift restrictions on capacity limits by June 15 as well.
All of this is good news for a region that was one of the strictest in the country when it came to shutting down businesses and schools and keeping them closed well beyond other states that soon saw upticks in positive COVID-19 cases and deaths, causing them to shut down all over again.
Local leaders in D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Northern Virginia were determined not to move too quickly, even when others in the same state did.
There are no winners or losers in the case of this pandemic, except to say that the outlook looks good.
Could COVID-19 make life miserable for us again? It could. But returning to normal is possible with the aid of masks and vaccines that are already closing the social distancing gap and bringing families and friends back together again. The more of us who cooperate, the greater the chance we’ll all have of winning the battle against this deadly disease sooner than later.