D.C.-based celebrity chef José Andrés has announced that he is shutting down all of his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area until further notice and turning some of them into community kitchens soon for those in need in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The community kitchens will be part of the World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit founded and run by Andrés as a charity that provides meals in areas hit by natural disasters.
These selected spots are planned to open on Tuesday, March 17 and operate from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. every day with the help of volunteers. They will only offer takeout service.
In a Twitter announcement that came on Sunday, he also called for the closure of all restaurants and bars around the United States in order to halt the spread of the virus.
People of America…Important News: All my restaurants in DC area are closed until further notice. Here at @ThinkFoodGroup safety of employees & guests is too priority. Some restaurants will transform into Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/3HTyT607ZI
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 15, 2020
“In this moment, loving each other means staying away from each other. This is about We The People. Each of us has a responsibility to act for others, not just ourselves. We are all together in this fight… and we will win,” he wrote at the end of his message.
This is not Andrés’ first charitable effort in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. His team at the WCK traveled to Japan last month to hand out food to the people who were quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
In September 2019, Andrés provided more than 100,000 free meals for Bahamians, who survived the Hurricane Dorian, as well as residents of the Carolinas and Florida.
He also opened a kitchen in D.C. to serve cooked meals free of charge for federal workers and their families during the government shutdown in January 2019.
Last month, the celebrity chef helped victims of two earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico.