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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Washington Transitions Into Phase Two of Reopening

Erica L
Fauci reflects on the legacy he thinks the pandemic will leave.

More than 13,469 Washington residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Government of the District of Columbia, and as Phase Two of reopening continues in Washington, the risk of higher infection rates will only increase. 

Because of this new danger, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has implemented new Phase Two regulations. 

One of Bowser’s orders, Order 2020-080, extends and specifies when to wear a mask. The order says local health organizations and medical professionals agree that masks can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially in a setting in which social distancing is impossible to uphold. 

I would hope that your grandchildren, when they’re sitting at Sidwell Friends, have a full class on the real potential and reality of outbreaks… not just a week and certainly not just a footnote.

— Dr. Anthony Fauci

As a result of this order, both indoor and outdoor regulations, including mask requirements, have been put into place. Violating any of the mask requirements stated in the order could result in a fine of up to $100,000. This penalty is intended to keep people from disobeying the new rule and thereby reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In an exclusive Horizon interview, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci emphasized the “five or six things you should be doing or aware of no matter what phase you’re in: the universal wearing of masks, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowds, knowing that outdoors is always better than indoors, washing hands and avoiding bars.”

Although Phase Two presents less rigid guidelines for customers, local businesses are continuing to suffer. Restaurants are now permitted to open, but attracting customers is not easy. 

Fauci revealed that “the last time I ate in a restaurant was right before we went into lockdown.” He does, however, make use of takeout options, such as celebrity chef Geoff Tracy’s eponymous restaurant Chef Geoff’s.

“Sales are off 50%,” Tracy said. 

In addition to affecting business, fewer sales means fewer workers, which was made evident in the earlier stages of COVID-19’s rapid spread. It is “quite stressful laying off so many people and then rebuilding with PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] and later having to resize again,” Tracy added. “I feel like we have done five years of work in 6 months.”

Recently, new guidelines for museums, historical sites and restaurants also have been issued. Sanitary practices including handwashing, constant disinfection and regular screening of employees are new precautions implemented to decrease the number of cases. 

Museums in the area also have been harmed. 

“Mount Vernon would have welcomed, in a normal year, a little over a million guests,” Vice President of Media and Communications Matt Briney said. “Now, we are seeing visitation decline, to only about 18% of our visitation.” 

Despite the lessening restrictions, a representative of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) added that “attendance at the museum is much lower than it was in July-August 2019.”  

Mount Vernon, the NASM and the International Spy Museum have all moved a number of programs online for visitors to engage with virtually. The NASM says they “plan to continue this ‘new normal’ so that there is online content for visitors, especially students, to enjoy anywhere, any time.” 

International Spy Museum Director of Youth Education Exhibitions & Programs Jacqueline Eyl predicts that a positive outcome of the recent restrictions is that “all of these new resources and programs will be here to stay.” 

Museums are not only providing online programs, but also adapting to the current regulations within the museums and exhibits themselves. 

“A pretty important part of our museum are the interactives,” Aliza Bran, the Media Relations Manager at the International Spy Museum, said. “We provide all our guests with a stylus so they can use our interactives.”

Thinking forward to long after Washington exits Phase Two, Fauci reflected on what kind of legacy the pandemic might leave on history.

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About the Contributor
Erica Lu '24, Editor-in-Chief
Erica Lu is currently Editor-in-Chief of Horizon. She served as a Features Editor in the 2022-2023 school year. Prior to that, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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