DC is set to enter Phase One of reopening this Friday, May 29th. So, what does that mean? Basically, restaurants and taverns can now offer outdoor dining, barber shops and salons can operate on a strictly appointment-only, no-wait basis, and nonessential retailers are allowed to provide curbside sales. Residents will still need to maintain six feet of distance between themselves in public, and must wear face masks/coverings while in businesses. Additionally, gatherings of ten people or more are still not allowed, and no, you can’t go to the pool or go clothes shopping or play contact sports.
Is it too soon? Is it not soon enough?
A few of our friends from affected industries around town and a few of us at BYT have weighed in on the topic; we invite you to join the conversation in the comments and/or on social media.
Rachel Fitz, Co-Owner at ANXO
Phase One is absolutely terrifying. Figuring out bathrooms for customers is literally keeping me up at night. The volume of PPE supplies we will go through and the cost associated is going to be a lot, but I don’t even know how to quantify yet. Are the four tables we’re allowed to have going to be financially worth opening at all? Restaurants are always hyper-aware of keeping people safe because of the dangers of food borne illness, and quite frankly, someone getting sick from their experience at ANXO would in normal life be a worst case scenario. But I didn’t stress about it before because we knew how to operate to keep people safe. I don’t know how to do that with reopening at this stage. As a business, I can be held accountable for my actions if we let too many people in or don’t sanitize between guests. What assurances do I have as a business owner that customers will comply if there’s no real way to hold them accountable?
On the other hand, I am incredibly excited to be able to give people a real ANXO experience again. So much of who we are as a company is about the whole experience, and it’s something we did (and do) very well. While I’ve gotten to know a number of our “new regulars” via email, and old ones staying in touch, the online experience just isn’t the same. The stressors of reopening are huge, but for the few moments I get to talk to a table (even if it’s through a mask so they can only half hear me), I imagine it will feel so good to be back in my element doing what I love.
Andrew Dana, Co-Owner at Call Your Mother Deli
We like that the city is starting to reopen, and we are hopeful that it will all go smoothly. We do not have any plans to change our operations right now though. We want to see how Phase One goes before we offer any outdoor seating. Our number one priority is keeping our staff and our community safe, so we are going to take our time changing our operations.
Shea Van Horn, aka Summer Camp
Alan Zilberman, Film Editor at Brightest Young Things
On Wednesday May 27, Mayor Bowser announced “Phase One” of reopening Washington, DC. Many businesses will remain closed, but some retail stores and even restaurants will be allowed to open (albeit in an extremely limited capacity). This means that every DC resident will have to decide how they want to change their behavior, if at all.
There is no easy decision here.
My plan is to trust my common sense, and also think about why I crave these spaces in the first place. Before the lockdown began, I liked going to bars and restaurants because they were relaxing and fun; they provided a sense of community. Now, if I were to sit at a restaurant table, even if it was outdoors and at a socially appropriate distance, I would feel none of those things. I would be alert, anxious, even agitated.
It almost feels like people who take advantage of these relaxed rules are more like the subjects of a public health experiment, rather than customers (Bowser has acknowledged that that Phase One will lead to an increase in cases). I’ve found ways to support local business since all of this began; I still do pickup from my favorite restaurants and bars, for example. And as much as I want to go to my local spot and sit down for a nice meal, I’m going to stay at home for the time being. No one wants to be the person who unintentionally restarts community spread of this virus, one we still barely understand.
What are your feelings on the reopening? Let us know in the comments and/or on social media // IG: @brightestyoungthings / Twitter: @byt / #BYThings
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