D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has selected two restaurateurs, José Andrés and Andy Shallal, for a committee that is tasked with planning how to reopen the District of Columbia as it recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
The mayor made the announcement on Monday, April 27, along with other names she appointed for the ReOpen D.C. group, which also includes city workers, artists and spokespeople for nonprofits.
Andrés and Shallal will be part of the committee that will focus on restaurants and food retailers, a sector severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Bars and restaurants in the city are currently restricted to take-out and delivery, while some of them closed their doors temporarily.
Andrés stepped in to fight the pandemic in February by traveling to Japan with a team from his charity, World Central Kitchen (WCK), and providing free meals to passengers on the infamous cruise ship Diamond Princess that remained under quarantine for weeks after a large number of infections were reported on board.
The celebrity chef announced last month that he was shutting down his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area and turning some of them into community kitchens for those in need during the pandemic.
Bowser’s advisory group will be co-chaired by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
Rice also served as National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017.
“Our focus will be on harnessing the best ideas from residents and experts across the public and private sectors to plan the re-opening of the District,” Rice was quoted as saying about the initiative. “Only through active and ongoing engagement with our neighbors will we be able to form a plan for reopening that aligns with public expectations while emphasizing the need to improve the quality-of-life of all District residents.”
A total of 11 committees will be operating as part of ReOpen D.C. in order to revive particular industries.
How can we reopen DC in line with our #DCvalues? Share your comments and suggestions by joining tomorrow's virtual townhall at 5 pm:
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) April 28, 2020
In the meantime, Mayor Bowser launched an online survey on Tuesday, asking the public’s opinions on the process of reopening the District and encouraging everyone to join a virtual town hall scheduled for Wednesday, April 29.
Residents can share their suggestions via the mayor’s Twitter account, her Facebook account or calling the mayor’s office at 844-881-1314.
You can register for the virtual town hall here.