This…seems an extreme mandate.
Like most citizens across the country the residents in Washington D.C. are curious as to when their district will open up and they can return to normal life as they knew it. The mayor’s office has issued its guidelines, and while it is helpful to be sure to see what the plan is there are some questions that arise as well.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has already instituted an extended stay at home order to be followed until June 8. In that interim a guidebook from the ReOpen DC Advisory Group has been sent out that details the plans for the District to return to operational standards. One of the requirements is a fourteen-day sustained decrease in community spread, but deeper in the guide is where the real metrics are found.
There is guidance offered for various activities including work, school, engagements, and services for which there are guidelines as to what should be open, restricted, or closed — the progress in the pandemic determines when those are changed. Further into the guidebook there is a list of activities and what restrictions those may encounter, based on four different stages of the pandemic. This is where the real curiosity is found.
So the DC advisory group issued its recommendations for reopen stages. Some activity cannot take place until there is a vaccine or a cure?!
Suppose that takes years to arrive…?? pic.twitter.com/lfhtcKv2kl
— Brad Slager: aka Wuhan Solo (@MartiniShark) May 22, 2020
The group has created four thresholds to be met for the next stage of reopening to take effect. The last step in the process is the one to note here. Under the heading for gatherings there are growing acceptable numbers for people to congregate together. Stage-1 was the 10 persons or less standard, Stage-2 up to 50 people, and Stage-3 is 250 people. These are, of course, completely arbitrary figures, as no one can cite what significance would occur is say 300 people gathered under stage-3. Stage-4 is the concern here.
Stage-4 is when the Advisory Group states that normal public gatherings should take place, without capacity restrictions. It declares that Stage-4 takes place when there is an ‘’Effective vaccine or cure’’. This — presents a few real problems. Considering the timeline for such a cure can run anywhere between a year or so – to never, this is a significant time frame for no large congregation events.
By this metric what is being suggested is within the district major social events cannot take place for an unknown length of time. This would include no major concerts. Lectures or other events will have to be truncated. And of course, all of the D.C. sporting events would be affected. The Washington Capitals, Wizards, and Nationals will not be permitted to have fans in the seats, as well as the Georgetown Hoyas and the Navy football teams. Not until a cure is to be found.
However, this DOES carry with it one promising possibility. Considering the 250 headcount limit this means that the House of Representative cannot convene in full until there is a Covid cure at the ready. This is fantastic news, to be honest. If there is one thing we could use in this pandemic is quite a bit of governmental stasis, as a refreshing change from the statist overreaching we have endured.
Alas, that is something too good to be realized. In the guidebook is this passage in reference to our elected officials: ‘’Federal workers should follow the activity most applicable to their workplaces, in conjunction with guidance from agency leadership.’’ Oh well, we can always dream…while not sipping $9.00 beers on the blue-line at Capital One Arena.