A newly introduced prohibition on indoor dining at restaurants is going into effect tonight in the District of Columbia in what is part of the city’s latest efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as cases surge.
The temporary ban will start at 10 pm on Wednesday, December 23, and will remain in place for at least three weeks.
The decision is included in DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s executive order issued on December 18.
“District residents are strongly advised to limit their activities to essential activities and travel, including work, school, childcare, government services, medical needs, food, supplies, and exercise,” the order says.
Restaurants will still be permitted to continue offering outdoor seating, as well as takeout and delivery services.
Today, I issued Mayor's Order 2020-127 to pause various activities in DC from 10 p.m., on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 until Friday, January 15, 2021, at 5 a.m. Additionally, the Order extends the state of emergency and public health emergency for DC through March 31, 2021.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) December 19, 2020
The figure makes up around 14 percent of all the outbreaks that were reported in the city during that period of time, which is equal to the percentage recorded for childcare and daycare centers.
Other DC Health requirements for restaurants include:
- Masks or face coverings are required for staff and for patrons, except while actively eating or drinking.
- Tables and chairs must be placed at least six feet apart.
- Tables are limited to six persons or fewer – no exceptions.
- All patrons must be seated at their tables – no standing.
- Only bar areas without a bartender present may seat patrons with proper social distancing of six feet.
- All alcohol purchases must be accompanied by at least one food item per table.
Prince George’s County, MD, and Montgomery County, MD, also currently have a ban on indoor dining at eateries.
Aside from restaurants, the new order affects museums, libraries, and other places in DC:
- Museums shall be closed; staff and contractors may enter only for the purposes of minimum business operations.
- Libraries shall close indoor service to patrons and return to pickup and drop-off of materials only.
- Department of Parks and Recreation may only offer reservations for individual swim and fitness room sessions.
- Non-essential businesses are required to telework, except in person staff needed to support minimum business operations.
- The DC Circulator National Mall route is suspended.