Restaurants in the District are able to return to offering indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or welcoming no more than 250 customers (whichever is fewer people), as of 5 am Friday, January 22, John Falcicchio, the chief of staff to Mayor Muriel Bowser, announced.
DC’s prohibition on indoor dining has been in place since December 23. It was introduced as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases was rapidly increasing in the city.
The ban was initially scheduled to end on January 15. However, Mayor Bowser announced an extension early last week, which coincided with the public-safety emergency that went into effect through Inauguration Day following the deadly US Capitol siege.
DC restaurants have been relying on outdoor seating, as well as delivery and takeout, since the ban started, while some opted for temporarily shutting down.
We are told that breakdown will start in earnest at 6 pm and will likely take about 36 hours.
That aligns with the end of the Inauguration Pause on indoor dining which is set to expire on Friday, January 22, at 5 am. Restaurants will then be able to return to 25% indoor.
— John J. Falcicchio (@falcicchio) January 20, 2021
Restaurant Week, DC’s bi-annual celebration organized by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), will start on Monday, January 25 due to the extension of the indoor dining ban.
“Now, more than ever, our restaurants and their employees need our support. Restaurant Week was born from crisis in 2001, post-9/11, and returns to aid an ailing industry,” said Kathy Hollinger, the president and chief executive officer of RAMW.
“The program has been tailored to allow for participation no matter what phase of reopening the region is in, what rollbacks may take place, or what level or type of service a restaurant is able to provide at the time with to-go offerings, curbside pickup, delivery, and dine-in or winterized outdoor dining options,” she continued.
Museums, which were also temporarily closed on December 23, may also open their doors to the public, as of Friday, accommodating up to 250 people at a time per floor.
The number of positive coronavirus cases surpassed 34,600 in the District, including 209 new infections reported on Thursday. The death toll from the infectious disease hit 864.
In the meantime, the city’s vaccination program is ongoing. Following healthcare employees and residents ages 65 and up, DC Health will start administering the COVID-19 shot to teachers and other in-person employees at public schools and public charter schools on January 25.
“Demand for the vaccine remains high and we continue to advocate for the federal government to send more vaccine so that we can meet the demand for it and protect the lives of our residents and our workforce. Put bluntly: DC NEEDS MORE VACCINE,” DC Health said in a recent statement.
DC will receive 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 5,600 doses of Moderna vaccine next week, according to officials.