Bowser Talks July 4th Safety 

Situational Update Report: June 30

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COVID-19 testing locations open this week. Screenshot: Facebook Live/Mayor Bowser.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) outlined guidelines for Fourth of July gatherings at her Tuesday, June 30 situational update, urging residents to celebrate the holiday “from home or close to home.”

Bowser said hosts should ensure guests have room to social distance, and cap guest lists if attendees lack room to safely celebrate. If possible, people should host gatherings outdoors, discourage others from gathering in groups, provide sanitizing and cleaning supplies, and limit the use of shared items. Hosts should also keep a list of guests should the need for contact tracing arise.

Bowser encouraged attendees to ask hosts who and how many people will be at a gathering. She added that guests who feel ill close to an event should not attend, and hosts who feel sick should cancel the event.

“One cookout is not worth people getting sick that you care about,” she said.

More guidance on cookouts and private gatherings is available here. The District reported 35 new coronavirus cases, bringing the case total to 10,327. DC reported no COVID-19 related deaths today. Coronavirus related deaths total 551 residents. Visit coronavirus.dc.gov/data for interactive data dashboards or to download COVID-19 data.

New cases remain unconnected, indicating continued community transmission, DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said. She added that there is no estimated date for the District entering Phase 3. The District and healthcare providers are developing a plan to prevent a spike in both COVID-19 and influenza cases as fall approaches, Nesbitt said.

Bowser on Police Budget, Protests

In response to Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen’s proposal to cut the police budget by $15 million, Bowser said she opposes decreasing the police budget “with no consideration on how calls for service will be handled.”

“Decreasing the police force in this rushed way will have a negative impact on public safety,” she said. “I’m not sure who’s going to respond to [calls for service.] The police will continue to do it, but just recognize it will take longer.”

She said she wants to proceed by having a broader discussion on responding to calls for service, which she said increase every year. Bowser also said she is having discussions with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), property owners and the art community on how to “preserve” Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Videos shared on social media show police officers destroying tents set up to shelter protesters. Bowser said the area is open to anyone who remains “peaceful.”

Responding to protesters’ calls to remove monuments and change school names they say symbolize white supremacy, Bowser said she favors changing the name of Woodrow Wilson High School. She said she is tasking a group within the DC government to make recommendations on reevaluating historical relics and references.

Referencing Wilson’s racist policies, she said his legacy has been “appropriately disavowed.”

Eva Herscowitz is a journalism student at Northwestern University currently interning with the Hill Rag. She writes for Northwestern’s student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. You can reach her at [email protected]