Washington kicks off a timid reopening with the "reinvention" of public space

The US capital kicked off the first stage of its reopening this Friday after the order to "stay home" to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with a "reinvention" of its public space to make it easier for restaurants and other businesses to share sidewalks and some roads with passers-by and buyers.

With more people on the streets than in recent weeks, Washington residents welcomed the decision of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser to move toward a gradual reopening, after the city registered a "sustained decline "of the spread of the coronavirus.

In the District of Columbia alone, where Washington is located, some 8,538 people have contracted COVID-19, which has caused 460 deaths in the city, compared to 1.74 million cases and 102,709 deaths across the country.

Among its 705,749 inhabitants, the pandemic has hit Afro-descendants the hardest, with 3,991 cases, and Latinos, with 2,272 of all infections.


Bowser encouraged residents and businesses to share "roads and sidewalks" on his Twitter, while maintaining the "social distance that is critical to curb the spread of COVID-19," and determined that restaurants in this first phase will be able to serve in outdoor seats keeping physical distance and security measures.

Drivers must also do their part, as the Mayor's Office has decided that it will reduce the speed allowed in the streets designated for the collection of products or in which tables are installed.

The order came as May water for numerous restaurants with spaces enabled on the sidewalks for their customers, which this Friday, in addition to home or take-away orders, began to see some customers arrive.

One of those establishments is the Mezcalero, a Mexican food restaurant, which on this day served diners at a couple of tables installed on its front.

But the gradual return to "normality", Mauricio Flores, an employee of the place, explained to Efe, came with numerous rules: limited seats, enough space to keep the distance between clients and reinforced cleaning routines.

"Likewise, we are wearing masks, gloves and disinfecting every time people leave. We take many precautionary measures now, because it is too virulent a disease and it is transmitted too easily," added Flores, who explained that in this first phase they are operating with 25% of the capacity, basically in what he called the "patio" of the premises.

About the past weeks, he reported that the quarantine forced them to reduce the hours for employees, although he admitted that there were those who voluntarily retired for fear of the disease.

From the ten waiters and five people in the kitchen, this place began to require the necessary personnel to respond to requests for collection. Barely three people worked on Friday nights, a shift that regularly covered five or six people.


The chef Tatiana Mora, who is in charge of the Serenata and Zumo restaurants, located in the La Cosecha market, assured Efe that although they still continue to serve customers who are going to collect their orders, they are in the preparation stage for "something that It is uncertain".

"However, we have the best desire to do it and the best desire to be able to carry all this with the necessary security measures and with the necessary protocol," anticipated Mora, for whom COVID-19 has brought human beings "an evolution ", which he described as the need" to improvise, to reinvent ourselves, to work a little under pressure and to have a lot of creativity to be able to face all this. "

A few blocks from the place, in the Union Market, which also houses different food businesses, a few people were observed this Friday who were waiting at tables located outside or in lines, also outdoors, for their orders.

The first phase of the restart of activities also covered other businesses, including hairdressers that will only attend appointments by Friday and with reinforced measures to adapt to a disease that Ramona, a young Dominican woman who works in a beauty salon in Washington, considered that "life has changed us".


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