The limitation on indoor dining, referred to by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the “holiday pause,” gained effect on Dec. 22 as part of the city’s effort to control the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist party) virus.
It was originally set to expire on Jan. 15 but Bowser lengthened it by another week, indicating public health and security concerns in the wake of the riots and protests that took place in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and the incoming presidential inauguration.
“This has been a tough week for businesses inside and already tough this year,” Bowser said on Thursday at a press conference. She showed appreciation to many restaurants for serving the National Guard troops and law enforcement officers deployed to the city during Inauguration Week, as well as residents for helping local businesses.
As the capital raises walls and reopens its roads, Bowser said, the extended indoor dining ban will end at 5 a.m. Friday, allowing restaurants to provide dine-in services until they reach 25 percent of their regular indoor capacity.
Some say that the reason the bans are lifted is to show that Biden is “handling” the coronavirus better than his predecessor, even though it seems they only waited for him to be sworn-in for that.
Bowser also prompted residents to assist restaurants and explore special offers during the annual Winter Restaurant Week, which will start on Jan. 25 and conclude on Feb. 7, which is Super Bowl Sunday. The event was formerly set to take place during Inauguration Week but was delayed by the organizers due to “the fluid nature of activities and regulatory measures tied to Washington, D.C.’s current State of Emergency affecting the region.”
According to information collected by the National Restaurant Association, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington are the only states in the nation to still have statewide prohibitions on indoor dining. In California and Colorado, limitations differ by county, with some permitting limited indoor dining and others outdoor only.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week that she wanted the city’s bars and restaurants to reopen for dine-in service as soon as possible, and pressed Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to lift statewide restrictions.
“I am very, very focused on getting our restaurants reopened. If we look at the various criteria that the state has set, we are meeting most if not all of those. So that’s a conversation that I will have with the governor,” Lightfoot said at a press conference. “But I want to get our restaurants and our bars reopened as quickly as possible.”