- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2020

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that she has decided to proceed with phase two of reopening the District’s economy despite a report of a new spike in the community spread of the coronavirus over the weekend.

“We are going into it because we achieved the 14 days and that’s the metric. We always know we could have different experiences with the data, we always know that, and we have the ability to go up and down,” Miss Bowser said at a press briefing. “It’s my decision that it wouldn’t be worth it to wait a day after we have announced a start date on this Monday.”

The D.C. Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reported a spike in community spread of the virus on June 11, and it reset the count for sustained decrease of community spread back to 11 days.

John Falcicchio, interim deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said after Monday’s press briefing that the city can move forward with phase two because the District had achieved the required 14 days of sustained decrease of community spread on Thursday.

Miss Bowser also said the District is on track with the metric for contact tracing required for phase two, noting that DOH workers have been able to conduct contract tracing on more than 90% of new cases over the last five days.

However, the DOH website shows that its workers have been able to contact trace 78% of new cases and about 70% of new cases’ close contacts, based on a seven-day rolling average. A 90% capability is required for both metrics for phase two.

The mayor said last week that the metrics show a deficit because health officials haven’t had sufficient time to observe the data since they updated the system for monitoring contact tracing.

Miss Bowser said all playgrounds should be open by the end of the day on Monday, and beginning Tuesday the Department of Motor Vehicles will be open for appointment-only, in-person services such as the knowledge test, first-time licenses, REAL ID conversion, and first-time title and vehicle registration.

Meanwhile, Metro announced Monday that it would reopen this month 15 subway stations that were closed to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Starting June 28, the following stations will reopen: Federal Center SW, Federal Triangle, Mount Vernon Square, Judiciary Square, Archives, Smithsonian, Eisenhower Ave, Virginia Square, Van Dorn Street, Clarendon, Cleveland Park, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Cheverly, College Park and Morgan Boulevard.

East Falls Church, McLean and Greensboro stations will reopen for shuttle service only due to construction work.

“Metro had originally closed these stations and entrances in March to conserve critical cleaning supplies at the early stages of its pandemic response,” the transit agency said in a press release. “After Sunday, Arlington Cemetery will be the only Metrorail station without regular service, as Arlington National Cemetery is closed to the general public.”

Entrances to stations previously closed at Anacostia, Farragut North, Dupont Circle, Metro Center, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, U Street, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Friendship Heights and L’Enfant Plaza also will reopen.

Starting June 29, Metro will add more buses to 14 of its busiest routes to create less crowding as more people go back to work and travel in conjunction with phase two of the reopening of the region’s economy.

An additional 136 trips are being added across these routes: 54, 70, 92, 30N, 30S, A4, A6, A8, P6, V4, W4, F4, P12, and T18.

To increase service on those routes, Metro will suspend service for less-traveled routes NH2, C14, G2 and M6.

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