D.C. advisory group: theaters, hotels, bars, museums should keep visitor logs for contact tracing

It will help tracers track down people who may have been exposed to COVID-19

The National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
(Jon Hicks/Getty)
Updated: May 23, 2020 - 11:30am

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An advisory board meant to help assist in the re-opening of Washington, D.C. has suggested that hotels, bars and other popular venues should keep detailed logs of anyone who comes into those establishments so that "contact tracers" can track down individuals who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. 

Contact tracing has been touted as a necessary measure for states who wish to re-open their shuttered economies. Long used as a tool for tracking and isolating other cases of infectious diseases, tracing has been proposed as one of the key methods by which health officials will keep the pandemic from spiraling out of control again.

Those who volunteer to be contact tracers will function as ad-hoc detectives, tracking down those who may have been in proximity to positive COVID-19 cases, informing them that they may have contracted the disease, and urging them to stay home. 

On Thursday, Washington's ReOpen DC Advisory Group released an extensive report of recommendations for the city to follow as it begins re-opening. Among those was a suggestion for numerous public entertainment venues and accommodations to keep logs of anyone who comes into those establishments. 

"Faith, arts and culture, entertainment, sports and hotel organizations" should "register or keep visitor logs for all patrons of arts organizations, museums, hotels, bars, theaters etc. to facilitate contact tracing," the group recommends. 

Elsewhere in the report the group urged that its fleet of contact tracers should be sensitive to the diverse makeup of the city.

"DC should leverage its own residents—especially those facing economic hardship and who have deep community ties—to ensure the contact tracing workforce is 'culturally competent'," the report says. 

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