The District of Columbia will remain under a stay-at-home order until June 8, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Wednesday.
Bowser noted that the extended date can be revised at any time and will depend on the incoming data that will be monitored in the coming two weeks. If the transmission rate declines during this time, the U.S. capital could reopen sooner.
Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Washington in mid-January, the district has as of Wednesday, reported 6,584 infections and 350 deaths.
Officials previously said the first phase of reopening will only start after three metrics show a sustained decline, including new daily CCP virus cases, reports of flu-like illnesses, and new cases inside nursing homes.
“We’re not there yet and not quite ready to begin that phased new opening,” Bowser said.
The decision to lift the current stay-at-home order will come from advice from health officials, Bowser said. The mayor noted recent warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who testified in the Senate on Tuesday about his concerns that ending lockdowns could lead to uncontrollable outbreaks.
“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control. Which, in fact, paradoxically will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery,” Fauci as he testified remotely from his home.
Bowser also announced the launch of a new pilot program, which will grant waivers to educational and academic locally owned retail shops in the city to do curbside and front door pickup.
She also said it is possible for the stay-at-home order to be extended past June 8 if the situation doesn’t improve.
“I could extend it, yes, but hopefully we won’t have to,” she said.
Both Maryland and Virginia, neighboring states where many workers in the U.S. federal government live, have moved to reopen some businesses in some areas, but the suburbs immediately surrounding Washington have remained largely closed.
The government is considered an essential service, with many workers currently working from home.
“We know that government is essential and the work of the government is essential, especially our lawmakers. What I have encouraged the federal government to do is to keep as many people on tele-work as possible,” Bowser said.
Reuters and Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.