D.C. Mayor Urges Celebration of Restaurant Week After Lockdown Shutters More than 70 Eateries

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 14: District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference about the COVID-19 vaccine at George Washington University Hospital on December 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams observed hospital workers being …
Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced Friday that Washington, DC, will celebrate Restaurant Week beginning January 25 after months of strict lockdowns and just two days after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president.

Scores of local businesses have been boarded up for months because of sometimes violent Black Lives Matter protests and coronavirus restrictions, resulting in the permanent closure of more than 70 eateries in the District.

Bowser’s announcement included a video featuring Nina Gilchrist, owner of Provost restaurant. Gilchrist is maskless on the sidewalk before telling people to “mask up” as she does before going inside.

“It’s definitely safe to go out,” Gilchrist says in the video, which also has footage of a Black Lives Matter window dressing.

The DCist reported about the damage done to restaurants and how lockdown orders often did more to harm businesses than protect customers’ health:

Alberto, a server at a restaurant in Shaw, is already preparing for winter. Talking on the phone in between shifts, he worries about what will happen to his job when brisk fall evenings turn into bitter cold winter nights (He declined to share his last name or the name of the restaurant where he works to protect his privacy).

For one, he reasons that fewer people will dine at restaurants. Many people are still not comfortable eating indoors despite D.C.’s Phase 2 allowing it. Plus, even with the city offering businesses $6,000 to “winterize” their outdoor space, the cold may be too much for people.

“People will not be too happy to eat outdoors,” he said, adding that outdoor tents seems counterintuitive. “If there’s a tent, it’s not really outdoor space anymore,” he said. “If everyone is covered by that tent, it’s an indoor space.”

Friday marked the first day restaurants could provide inside dining at 25 percent capacity after Bowser shut down indoor service on December 23.

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