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July 17, 2020

Phase Two Reopening: DC Travel Status Update

by Anthony Ahn

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel — especially for DC’s hospitality and tourism industry! On June 22, 2020, the District of Columbia entered Phase Two of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s reopening plan as we continue to take precaution to mitigate the health crisis. As outlined in the plan, large events/gatherings have been expanded from a capacity of 10 to 50 people, and nonessential retail businesses have the option to open their doors. Nonessential non-retail businesses, like many office or corporate employees, will continue to telework for the time being.

Below is a breakdown of what’s open in the city and tips to know before you go:


  • Theaters, cinemas, and entertainment venues remain closed but can be opened for an arts, entertainment, or cultural event. To hold the event, you must be granted a waiver from the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) to ensure safe social distancing measures and protocols.

Fitness Establishments

  • Fitness establishments such as gyms, health clubs, yoga, dance and workout studios, including those in hotels, apartments, condominiums, and cooperatives, may open with capacity limits of five people per 1,000 square feet.


  • Museums, galleries, and the National Zoo are open with a limited capacity of up to 50 people in enclosed rooms or exhibit spaces. All guided tours and large group tours are prohibited.

Parks and Recreation

  • Playgrounds, courts, and fields are now open, but you should practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and avoid high contact sports. Low and moderate contact sports like soccer, and individual running events are allowed.
  • Outdoor swimming pools are open for structured activities such as lessons and lap swimming. Apartments, condominiums, and cooperatives may open their pools for residents only. Hotel pools remain closed.
  • Recreation centers, bowling alleys, climbing gyms, squash or racquet clubs, skating rinks, and skateboard parks are back in operation with a 50-person capacity or at 50% capacity.
  • Outdoor attractions like the National Park Service sites, monuments, and memorials at the National Mall and around the city remain open.
  • Camps and aftercare activities may open with no more than ten people in a cohort, so long as they have social distancing protocols and other safeguards in place. 


  • In addition to providing takeout, delivery, “grab and go,” and outdoor dining, restaurant service now includes indoor dining at 50% capacity. Indoor dining must follow minimum safeguards like limiting tables to six people max and spacing patrons six feet apart. Reservations are highly encouraged to avoid crowding and queueing.


  • Nonessential retail businesses can now re-welcome customers for indoor shopping as long as the number of people within the establishment does not exceed 50% occupancy and common areas are clearly marked for social distancing.
  • Personal services like tanning, tattooing, waxing, threading, facial and skin services, and nail salons are also once again in operation, but by appointment only. Barbershops and hair salons previously opened during Phase One and are still in operation.


  • Nonessential travel outside of the DC metro area is discouraged, but travel within the District is picking back up. Ridesharing has returned, and Metro reopened 15 rail stations and added buses to the system’s 14 busiest lines to provide more capacity and more frequent service. For more information about traveling through Washington, DC, visit goDCgo.com.

Keep in mind that before venturing outside of the house, you must still wear a face mask and socially distance as much as possible.

Other protective measures include:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Coughing into your elbow and sneezing into a tissue
  • Avoiding traveling if you are sick
  • Avoiding contact with people who are already sick
  • Being aware of the latest travel advisories from the CDC and the US Department of State
  • Taking everyday precautions to stop the spread of germs

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