In the Dec. 21 situational update, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) spoke about the adjustments made to phase two of the District’s reopening plan and updates on the District’s vaccination efforts.
Phase Two Adjustments
Bowser emphasized the importance of community collaboration to keep hospital beds open going into the holidays.
“We’re really aiming to make sure hospitals can handle people who need COVID care, but also all of the other care that people need in general,” Bowser said.
With COVID-19 cases, deaths and community spread on the rise in the District, the Mayor asked all Washingtonians to think about the most vulnerable members of their community and consider staying home for the holidays to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“Even though we’re on the verge of getting this virus under control with a vaccine this is the time where we have to continue to be extremely vigilant,” Bowser said.
Starting Dec. 23 through Friday Jan. 15 many elements of the phase two reopening plan have been adjusted. Beginning Wednesday, indoor dining will be paused across the District restricting dining to outdoor and takeout options.
Additionally, stores will have decreased capacities for enhanced social distancing purposes. These restrictions do not apply to grocery stores who will be allowed to continue operations with their initial social distancing plans.
In addition, the public health emergency will be extended through March 31, 2021.
Bowser emphasized the “years of research” that brought about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Vaccinations began in the District last week with more than 4,500 individuals receiving the vaccine and will continue this week.
Vaccine allocation through the federal government in operation warp speed is based on population and since many healthcare workers in the District reside in Maryland and Virginia, both states have donated several thousand vaccines to help support the District’s efforts this week.
Bowser noted that pharmacies and community centers across the District would also receive vaccines this week. These locations will receive the Moderna vaccine which can be stored in a regular refrigerator, making it possible for facilities without proper freezer equipment necessary to store the Pfizer vaccine to continue the distribution process.
Additionally, 4,500 doses will be distributed across the District to various long term care and assisted living facilities for both residents and staff members.
The entertainment bridge fund applications open today, Monday Dec. 21. The fund seeks to provide 29.5 million dollars in funding for venues such as theatres, private museums, nightclubs and movie theatres impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will remain open through Jan. 11 for businesses.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at email@example.com.