Nation’s capital set to begin a gradual reopening on Friday


District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Washington. Bowser announced the start of the Phase 1 response to the coronavirus in Washington is to begin Friday, May 29. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mayor Muriel Bowser says the nation’s capital will begin a gradual reopening Friday, even as she warns that it probably will result in more coronavirus infections.

Restaurants will be permitted to seat guests outdoors, barbers and hair salons will open and nonessential businesses will be allowed to offer curbside or front-door pickup services. But nail parlors and public playgrounds will remain closed and gatherings of more than 10 people will be prohibited.

Bowser said Wednesday that the public health emergency she declared in March will remain in place.

“The virus is still in our city, in our region and in our country,” Bowser said. “We know, without a vaccine or a cure, there will be new infections.”

Bowser and the Health Department chief, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, said the metrics tracking community spread of the virus have been trending positive for long enough to justify the transition.

Washington, D.C., working closely with neighboring counties in Maryland and Virginia, has pursued a more conservative timeline than much of the rest of the nation.

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