$40 Million Small Business Rent Relief Program Proposed by DC Council

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

This week, the Council of DC introduced a revised Fiscal Year 2022 budget that includes a new $40 million Small Business Rent Relief Program. This program would award grants to restaurants and bars, as well as retail establishments, physically located in the District equal to 1/3 of the business’s past-due rent for the 1 year period of April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. The business owner would be required to pay 1/3 of the rent, and the landlord would certify that they are forgiving 1/3 of the past due rent. Review text starting on page 360.

As currently written, the plan would be limited to only those spots:

  • Open since December 1, 2018 (temporarily closed during pandemic still eligible)
  • For-profit, brick & mortar, with 2020 revenue of no more than $5 million
  • In good standing with DC Tax/Revenue
  • 50% decrease in revenue for any April 2020-March 2021 3 month period compared to 2019.
  • With lease extended at least until end of 2023
  • Did not receive SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants
  • Can demonstrate that they will pay 1/3 of the past due rent for that one year

Any businesses that did not receive PPP loans would be prioritized first. Because the fiscal year does not start until October 1st, no funds would be awarded until then.

This is similar (though less generous) than a plan put forward by Mark Lee of the D.C. Nightlife Council.

Some thoughts: I think it’s smart to focus on the businesses who didn’t win the RRF lottery that was stupidly crafted by Congress to give all or nothing. I would suggest changing the Dec 1, 2018 open dates and the lease end of 2023 requirements into priority groups as I think there will be funds left over.

Will keep posted as plan goes through review and possible signing into law by Mayor Bowser.

The revised budget also includes a $40 million COVID-19 Hotel Recovery Grant Program that would give $3500-$7000/room to hotels that suffered at least a 40% decrease in occupancy during pandemic.

Join the Barred in DC Streetcar Bar Stroll – Friday July 23rd – 8pm

DC Streetcar (photo by Barred in DC)

It’s been five years since the DC Streetcar finally opened and for almost that long, people have been bar hopping using it. If you been following Barred in DC since the beginning, you may recall that an early feature were public transportation bar crawls (90 series bus, 70 bus, 42 bus, DC Circulator were all events attended by friends and family only-though open to all-in 2013-2015). So it’s just natural that we’d finally host another bar hopping event Friday, July 23rd starting at 8pm with the DC Streetcar taking us from each establishment to the next.

Tentative Schedule

8pm: Cafe Fili. No bars are open in Union Station after 7p so this is closest spot with a bar near the beginning of Streetcar. Really good food here so if you want to grab dinner may want to stop here early

8:50p: Walk about 1000 feet to the western terminus of the DC Streetcar on the Hopscotch Bridge. Stairs up to H St off 2nd St NE (around 5 minute walk). Take DC streetcar to next stop.

9:00p: Arrive at The Big Board (adjacent to 5th and H NE stop)

9:55p: Take DC Streetcar from 5th and H NE to 13th and H NE stop

10:00p: Arrive at 13th and H NE stop. Depending on size of crowd, walk to H Street Country Club and/or Hill Prince about 400 feet away.

Important Notes:

  • This event is not officially sanctioned or endorsed by DC Streetcar.
  • No drinking or eating on the DC Streetcar
  • Masks are legally required to be worn on the DC Streetcar and by any business if a sign requires it.
  • None of the bars we are visiting are partnering with Barred in DC, so no specials or anything.

The Best Frozen Drinks in DC

DC’s Best Frozen Drink – the Cocomotion from Cotton & Reed

On the verge of summer, frozen drinks at DC’s bars and restaurants will be popular. So I asked Barred in DC’s Twitter followers for their best frozen drinks. Here’s a list of the most popular spots and drinks. Note that usually if a spot has one great frozen drink, they usually have more.

Most Mentioned

  • Cotton & Reed (Union Market area)
    • Cocomotion ($13) – White & Gold rums, Lacto-coco, pina, pandan
      • Note: This is the best frozen cocktail Barred in DC has ever had anywhere.
    • Del-Tone ($12) – White Rum, passion fruit, mango, sauvignon blanc, aperol
  • Electric Cool Aid (Shaw)
    • Disney on Ice ($11) – Dole whip colada, pineapple, coconut, rum, magic
    • Painkiller also mentioned. Several popular frozen cocktails there

2nd Most Mentioned

  • The Salt Line (Navy Yard)
    • Frozen Del’s Shandy ($13; $7 Noon-4p Fri) – Finlandia vodka, lemon, Narragansett Del’s Shandy
  • Cactus Cantina (Cathedral Heights) / Lauriol Plaza (Dupont)
    • Frozen Swirl Margaritas ($9.55 / $24 (half pitcher) / $47.70 (pitcher))
    • Lauriol has Monday Margarita specials ($6.50 / $16.95 (half pitcher) / $31.95 (pitcher)
    • Same owners
  • Little Miss Whiskeys (H Street)
    • Awesomeness ($8-10ish) – Possibly Sweet Tea vodka and Peach schnapps
  • All Purpose Capitol Riverfront (Navy Yard)
    • Waluigi ($14; $8 during HH until 7p M-F) – rum, pineapple, lime, ube
    • Other booze Italian Water Ice flavors available at different times (people like Mario) Daisy Swirl (mix)

3rd Most Mentioned

  • Archipelago (U Street)
    • Frozen Pina Colada ($12) – white rum, coconut, pineapple
  • Colada Shop (14th St & The Wharf)
    • Pina Colada shushee ($10; $8 during HH 3-6p M-F)
  • Sonny’s Pizza (Park View)
    • Golden Child Slushie ($12) – gin, vodka, VSOP cognac, meyer lemon, orange
  • The Green Zone (Adams Morgan)
    • Mint lemonade & More ($14) – fresh mint, lemon. Choice of Polish vodka or Lebanese gin. Blended frostiness.

Mentioned Multiple TImes

  • Last Call/Suburbia/Buffalo and Bergen (Union Market): all owned by Gina Chersevani
  • TikiTNT (The Wharf): Rum “In” Coke ($14)
  • Walter’s Sports Bar ((Navy Yard): Painkiller ($15 16 oz, $25 32 oz)
  • District Daiquiri (Bloomingdale, H Street): popup DCity Smokehouse and Sol ($13 16 oz, $22 32 oz, $40 1/2 gallon)
  • Baan Siam (Mt Vernon Triangle): Frozen Lychee & White Lotus slushees ($12)
  • Jimmy Valentine’s (H Streetish): Mr. Lethal ($8-10ish, root beer vodka slushie)
  • Mercy Me (West End): Kick Ass Colada ($14)
  • The Smith (U St location): French 75 Slushie ($14.50)
  • Millie’s (Spring Valley): Riptide ($10 or $14)

Others Mentioned: Dirty Habit, La Famosa, Bammy’s, Purple Patch, El Chucho, 600T, Board Room, Chupacabra, Grand Duchess, Chaplin’s, Lost and Found, Estadio, Roofer’s Union, BKK Cookshop, Due South, Carmine’s, Free State, DC9, Takoda, Casta’s, Lulu’s Wine Garden, Breadsoda, Le Diplomate, El Centro DF, Columbia Room, El Rey

Where to Watch Euro 2020 in 2021 in DC

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Updated June 11, 2021

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euro 2020, was postponed a year due to the pandemic, and arguably the 2nd most popular world soccer competition-at least the 2nd most accessible one-(behind the World Cup) kicks off Friday June 11th, ending Sunday July 11th.

DC, being one of the biggest TV markets for international soccer in the US, will have a fair share of bars that will attract fans for a fun watch experience. Matches are 9a, noon, and 3p DC time most days until Saturday June 19th, and mostly Noon and 3p after that.

It does not appear that any bar in DC will be opening early to show every single match, but there are certain spots that will be great places to watch. Because all matches are ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC, every bar with a TV that is open before 5p can have it on. Fritz Hahn for the Post has another good round-up (and reporting about the challenges)

If you like this content and want more of it, feel free to support Barred in DC’s Patreon.

SCHEDULES LIKELY TO CHANGE. CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA.

  • Lucky Bar (Dupont)
    • Historically and still best soccer bar in DC
    • Showing all weekend matches (at least first weekend) but no 9a weekday matches
    • HH 3-8p M-W, and Fri ($3.50 pint, $5 craft beer, $4 rails
  • Across the Pond (Dupont)
    • Bar opens at 8:30a for weekend 9a matches
    • Closed Mondays so no matches 6/14 and 6/21. Not open for 9a matches 6/15-6/18. Not open for noon matches 6/15-17 and 6/23
    • $5 Heineken & Strongbow pints during matches / $6 Guinness pints all day during tourney / $4 Bloody Marys & Mimosas during 10a-1p weekend brunch / HH 3-8p daily
    • Reservations accepted: email reservations@acrosstheponddc.com.
  • Dock FC (Ivy City)
    • Open for all matches on weekends (open 8a on weekends). Fridays showing at least 3p match, possibly noon as well
    • Will open for others based on demand
  • Biergarten Haus (H Street)
    • Open at 3p for weekday matches. Early on weekend (possibly only for Germany or Austria matches)
    • Lots of outdoor seating
  • Wunder Garten (NoMa)
    • Generally will open an hour before match. only showing 9a matches 6/13 and 6/19. During Group stage only showing noon matches 6/13, 6/15, 6/19, 6/20, and 6/23. Not showing matches 6/21
    • lots of outdoor seating but best vantage point under the tent
    • Partnership with UK, German, and French embassies (others to be added
    • Widened selection of European beers. $1 for each Dogfish Head beer donated to DC Scores
  • Irish Channel (Chinatown/PQ)
    • Open early (at least 3p matches likely noon matches)
  • The Artemis (Columbia Heights)
    • Open at least for all 3p matches and likely at least noon matches on weekends TBD
  • Walters Sports Bar (Navy Yard)
    • Showing all noon and 3p matches (normal hours)
    • outdoor seating
  • Sauf Haus (Dupont)
    • Open for all 3p matches (except closed Mondays). at least noon matches on weekends. TBD.
  • Midlands (Park View)
    • Open for 3p matches on weekdays, noon matches on weekends. Open at 1p on Fridays
    • HH 3-5p M-Thurs, 1-5p Fri, 11a-1p Sat-Sun
    • lots of outdoor seating
  • The Queen Vic (H St)
    • showing England matches and some Wales matches
  • The Fairmont (West End)
    • showing all games in lounge and lobby bar plus replays
  • Penn Quarter Sports Tavern (PQ)
    • Open for all noon and 3p matches (normal hours)
  • Duke’s Grocery/Counter (Dupont, Foggy Bottom, and Woodley Parkish)
    • Showing all noon and 3p matches at all locations. Showing 9a Sunday England v. Croatia match at Foggy Bottom

The Barred in DC 51 – Crowdsourced Favorite 51 Bars

All Souls Bar, Barred in DC’s Favorite DC Bar. One of the Barred in DC 51
Map created by follower Chelsea Richardson (@ccmakesmaps).

Updated June 23, 2021

The Barred in DC 51 is here. Fifty-one of Barred in DC’s Twitter followers’ favorite DC bars are listed below and at the linked map created by follower and GIS analyst Chelsea Richardson (@ccmakesmaps). Derived through Twitter poll results, including 39 bars from the Barred in DC Bar Madness that took place in March 2020 and more polling in May 2021, this list should be a solid starting place for popular places to check out if you’re new to DC (including those who moved here during the pandemic, several of which inspired me to create this list), particularly if you’re a yuppie/hipster (or both, a “yupster”). I’ve had a drink at all 51 and I agree all of these are worth visiting (though some I definitely wouldn’t count in my favorites). If you find this post worthwhile, feel free to contribute to the Patreon. Not all DC dive bars are listed-you can find the Barred in DC Definitive List here.

Note: This list is not exhaustive or even representative of the DC’s bars and restaurants. Significantly, this list (because the bars were based on popularity from those who follow me on Twitter-undoubtedly mostly White and straight) lacks LGBTQ bars (e.g., Pitchers/ALOHO, TRADE, The Dirty Goose, Uproar), bars that predominately cater to Black patrons (e.g., Stan’s, Georgena’s Player’s Lounge, Park at 14th, Mr. Braxton’s), as well as clubby/loungey spots, and meat markety bars full of people right out of college. There are a ton of great bars in DC so not being included on this list doesn’t mean that a particular bar is not amazing.

The Barred in DC 51

Those spots in bold are particular favorites of Barred in DC and/or top 16 favorite spots of readers. Spots in italics are currently temporarily closed.

Adams Morgan
The BlaguardDivey#BlagFam neigborhood spot
Jack RoseClassy and/or TrendyMassive whiskey collection with massive terrace
Dan’s CafeDiveySquirt bottles/mix your own drinks.
The Green ZoneClassy and/or TrendyMiddle East meets cocktails
Shaw
Ivy and ConeyDiveyChicago, Detroit, Malort
All SoulsCasualA corner bar. BiDC’s Favorite
Lost and FoundCasuallower Shaw neighborhood spot
Columbia RoomClassy and/or TrendyTHE cocktail bar
Dacha Beer Garden ShawCasualGerman beer garden
The PassengerDiveyunpretentious cocktails
Right Proper ShawCasualGreat located brewery
CalicoClassy and/or Trendy“Urban backyard” and adult juice boxes
14th//U St/Logan Circle
ChurchkeyClassy and/or TrendyBest beer bar in DC
Solly’sDiveyMr. Solomon’s place
American Ice Co.Casualswachos and picklebacks
Service BarClassy and/or Trendycocktails and chill
Franklin HallCasualbeer hall/sports bar
Garden DistrictCasualcozy beer garden
KingfisherDiveybasement, popcorn, and canned beer
H Street
The PugDiveyTony’s joint-Dad/craft beer + whiskey
The Queen VicCasualBritish gastropub
Little Miss Whiskey’sDiveyNew Orleans on H with dance parties
H St Country ClubDiveymini-golf, games, tequila
CopycatClassy and/or TrendyCocktails and skewers
Duffy’s Irish PubDiveycozy Irish pub and sports bar
Hill PrinceClassy and/or Trendycocktails and good vibes
Columbia Heights
Red DerbyDiveyDC’s original hipster dive
Wonderland BallroomDivey11th Street mainstay w/ dancing
Lyman’s TavernDiveyFriendly pinball
Navy Yard
BluejacketCasualBright & airy brewery
Walters Sports BarCasualsports bar and pour your own beer
Atlas Half StreetCasualbrewery and streetside beer garden
Bloomingdale
Boundary StoneCasualBloomingdale’s neighborhood pub
Showtime LoungeDiveyCash only, great jukebox, low ceilings
The Pub and the PeopleCasualNeighborhood bar for Bloomingdale/Eckington
Penn Quarter/Downtown
Old Ebbitt GrillClassy and/or TrendyTourists and industry collide
JackpotDiveyBasement, popcorn, and draft beer
Capitol Hill (including Barracks Row & Eastern Market)
Tune InnDiveyCapitol Hill classic since 1947. open early
Trusty’sDiveyHill East neighborhood spot w/ a schoolbus
The BrigCasualDC’s Hidden Beer Garden/Sports Bar
Tunnicliff’s TavernDiveyEastern Market’s neighborhood bar
Beuchert’s SaloonClassy and/or TrendyCurrently Fight Club, Buffalo heads watch
The DublinerCasualDC’s best Irish pub w/ live music
Park View/Petworth
The Midlands Beer GardenCasualPark View Beer Garden
Looking Glass LoungeDiveyneighorhoody, vintagey spot
Dupont Circle
McClellan’s RetreatClassy and/or Trendynorthern Dupont cocktail bar
Bar CharleyClassy and/or Trendyclassic cocktails and tiki
Duke’s Grocery DupontCasuallowkey spot with a highkey burger
NoMa/Union Market
Last CallDiveylower priced Union Market drinks.
Edgewood /Brookland
Dew Drop InnDiveyThrowback spot on the side of the tracks
Cleveland Park
Nanny O’Brien’sDiveyCleveland Park neighborhood Irish pub

Other Spots Mentioned by Followers Multiple Times or of Note : The Big Stick, Georgena’s Players Lounge, The Berliner, Brookland Pint, Jimmy Valentine’s, Pitchers/A League of Her Own, The Sovereign, Brookland’s Finest, TikiTNT, Jackie Lee’s, Breadsoda, Duke’s Grocery Foggy Bottom, The Raven Grill, Reliable Tavern, Free State, Union Trust, Le Bar a Vin, Slash Run, Morris, The Big Board, Across the Pond, Biergarten Haus, Red Bear Brewery, DC9, Pop’s Sea Bar, Fox and Hounds, Cleveland Park Bar & Grill, Madam’s Organ, Bar Pilar, The Roost, Archipelago, Stan’s, The Eastern, Cantina Bambina, Granville Moore’s

DC Restaurants – Who’s Requiring Masks for Now and Where are Masks Optional

If you see this sign or similar signage, you are legally required to mask up

In DC, masks, as of Friday (although Mayor said on Monday it was effective immediately the mayor’s order doesn’t actually go into effect until Friday and the ABRA mask regulations are still in effect til then) are only required (regardless of vaccination status) at homeless shelters, the DC Jail, schools, childcare facilities, in healthcare settings, when required by a workplace or establishment/business, DC government buildings, public transportation, Ride-share, and taxicabs. Those who are not fully vaccinated (full series + 2 weeks) still should wear masks in public, including office buildings, gyms, apartment/condo building common areas, and businesses/other establishments (OK not to wear masks when biking/running/walking/etc. with members of own household; attending small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated friends/family; and visiting indoors with fully vaccinated people from 1 household), though there is no longer any legal mandate aside from the list above.

In the meantime, many people want to patronize restaurants/bars that continue to require masks at least for now (albeit with caveat that you aren’t required to mask when eating or drinking, or just when seated), while others want to eat/drink at places where masks are optional. Note that DC legally requires people to wear a mask when the business requires it, which is a wrinkle most states have not added.

Here’s a running list that I’ll update until it gets too unwieldy. If it’s clear that there’s one list that is shorter than the other list, I’ll only update that list. DM @barredindc or email barredindc@gmail.com if you have something to add or change. Feel free to support the Barred in DC Patreon if you find this useful

Masks Still Required For Patrons (sometimes only indoors)

  • Cotton & Reed
  • McClellan’s Retreat
  • The Royal
  • Lulu’s Wine Garden
  • Anxo
  • Zaytinya (next 5 are José Andrés spots)
  • Jaleo
  • Oyamel
  • barmini
  • China Chilcano
  • Taqueria del Barrio

Masks Optional For Fully Vaccinated Patrons (honor system generally, so don’t take advantage)

  • Walters
  • Flight Wine Bar
  • Pitchers / ALOHO
  • Central
  • Exile’s
  • Trade
  • Number Nine
  • The Dirty Goose
  • Nationals Park
  • Morris
  • Bardo

Where to Sit at the Bar Outdoors in DC

Published: May 16, 2021

Starting Friday May 21st, people will be able to sit and order from bartenders at staffed bars legally for the first time in DC since March 15th of last year. For months, this has been the number one thing people miss about bars during COVID times. However, many people of all statuses will still want to continue (either to enjoy the weather or for COVID-safe reasons) doing outdoor drinking and dining. Inspired by a Twitter request, here’s a list of spots in the District that have outdoor bars where you can sit (and possibly stand) and be served by a bartender. (Places where you can only order but not sit at the bar not included). [See also outdoor bars/beer gardens, and rooftop bars guides-to be updated]

Note: Many of these spots have not yet re-opened fully or will not have open their outdoor bar seating as of May 21st. Places in bold have confirmed outdoor bar seating available. Many others keep their outdoor seating enclosed for much of the year.

  • Navy Yard
    • The Salt Line
    • Bardo River Brewery
    • All Purpose Capitol Riverfront
    • Bluejacket
    • The Brig
    • Top of the Yard
    • Stadium Sports
  • Barracks Row
    • Betsy
    • Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grill
    • Ophelia’s
  • The Wharf/Other SW
    • TikiTNT
    • Hank’s Oyster Bar at The Wharf
    • La Vie
    • Officina
    • Whiskey Charlie
    • CityBar
    • The Point
    • Island Time Bar & Grill
    • H Street/NoMa/Union Market/Brookland
    • Biergarten Haus
    • H Street Country Club
    • Dirty Water
    • Indigo
    • Laos in Town
    • Brookland’s Finest
  • Georgetown/Glover Park/Foggy Bottom
    • El Centro D.F.
    • Nick’s Riverside Grill
    • Sequoia
    • Tony & Joe’s
    • The Graham Georgetown Rooftop
    • HIve Rooftop
    • Top of the Gate (Watergate)
    • Tonic at Quigley’s
  • U Street/Logan Circle
    • El Rey
    • Lulu’s Wine Garden
    • Red Light
    • DC9
    • Cortez
    • Dirty Goose
    • Local 16
    • The Brixton
    • Lost Society
    • Hawthorne
    • Nellie’s
    • Wet Dog Tavern
    • Colada Shop (mobile bar sometimes upstairs, other times outdoor counter seating)
  • Shaw
    • Roy Boys
    • Calico
    • Dacha Beer Garden
    • El Techo
    • 801
    • Ivy & Coney
    • The Delegate
    • Flash
    • Uproar
    • Cambria Hotel Shaw
  • Adams Morgan/Cleveland Park
    • The Imperial
    • Jack Rose
    • Madam’s Organ
    • Roofers Union
    • Perry’s
    • Cleveland Park Bar & Grill
    • Dupont Circle
    • Lauriol Plaza
    • Sauf Haus
    • Ozio
    • Decades
    • Public Bar Live
  • Columbia Heights/Petworth/Park View/16th St Heights
    • Lou’s City Bar
    • Lyman’s Tavern
    • Homestead/Drift
    • Moreland’s Tavern
    • Red Derby
    • Little Coco’s
  • Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Downtown
    • Dirty Habit
    • Bar Deco
    • Summit the Rooftop at Conrad
    • Cloak Room
    • The Ellipse Rooftop Bar (Hyatt Place WH)
    • POV (W Washington)
    • Eden
    • Dauphine’s

Other Spots Open Air Due to Open Windows But Seated Bar is Not Outdoors: Pearl Dive, Dock FC, Midlands, Takoda

The DC Wedding Reception Dancing Ban – Explained

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Here’s an explainer/timeline about DC’s dancing ban at weddings, which has gotten a ton of chatter lately, as I outline the legal rules for the various settings where weddings would be allowed. As you’ll see the dancing ban isn’t really a new ban, but there are still disparities between restaurants and event venues, particularly outdoors.

Weddings in Homes, Backyards, Home Patios, Apt/Condo Building Roof Decks, Etc.

  • Outdoors
    • 10 people max: March 24-June 19, 2020
    • 50 people max: June 19-November 25, 2020
    • 25 people max: November 25, 2020 – March 17, 2021
    • 50 people max: March 17, 2021 – present
  • Indoors
    • 10 people max: March 24-June 19, 2020
    • 50 people max: June 19, 2020 – November 25, 2020
    • 10 people max: November 25, 2020 – present

Dancing has never been banned, and still is not banned in homes, backyards, etc. Standing allowed.

Weddings in Restaurants, Wineries, Breweries

  • Outdoors
    • Not allowed: March 15-May 29, 2020
    • No apparent max: May 29, 2020- present
  • Indoors
    • Not allowed: March 15-June 19, 2020
    • 50% capacity: June 19-December 14, 2020
    • 25% capacity (250 person capacity started December 19, 2020): December 14, 2020 -December 23, 2020
    • Not allowed: December 23, 2020-January 22, 2020
    • 25% Capacity/250 person: January 22, 2020 – current

Dancing has been banned for weddings in restaurants, wineries, breweries etc the whole time during the pandemic. As of May 1, 10 person tables allowed. All required to be seated in socially distant tables. This is not a new rule. Standing not allowed though ABRA has indicated that people can switch tables so long as they don’t take food/drink from one table to the next and/or stand with the food/drink

Weddings in Hotel Ballrooms, Conference Centers, Wedding Venues, Event Centers and other Multipurpose Facilities

  • Outdoors
    • Apparently not allowed until May 1, 2021
    • 25% capacity/250 people max: May 1, 2021-present
  • Indoors
    • Apparently not allowed until May 1, 2021
    • 25% capacity/250 people max: May 1, 2021-present

The fact that weddings were going to be allowed on May 1st was announced on April 5, 2021; but there no mention about dancing/standing, so many assumed there would be no such restrictions. However, the April 26, 2021 order said dancing banned. All required to be seated in socially distant tables. Standing not allowed. Groups of only 6 to a table. All seats must be pre-assigned/reserved prior to an event. Seating assignment charts must be saved for 30 days and must be made available to DC Health within 24 hours upon request. Waiver can be sought for bigger events. See specific rules here

Why Has Dancing Been Banned?

It appears that weddings and other events are now allowed but basically on the same terms that restaurants and bars are allowed to be open. Fox5 story gives DC’s explanation for dancing ban for restaurants as well as weddings/bigger events:

FOX 5 contacted the Mayor’s Office about the no dancing and standing ban at weddings. A spokeswoman said they have it in place as an extra layer of safety to reduce the spread of COVID-19 because when people stand and dance their behavior changes. For example, people are more likely to get close and touch each other. They did not respond to our request for an interview or further information about why the District feels the need to have that in place when neighboring states do not.


Will this Be Enforced?

To the extent that any of these venues have liquor licenses, I would expect the venues to have staff to enforce this. ABRA pre-pandemic fined spots for having dance floors when not authorized, and during pandemic places with dancing and entertainment have been fined repeatedly. Venues don’t want to lose the ability to host these large events going forward.

Other Places that Ban Dancing at Weddings.

Illinois and Michigan similarly ban dance floors at weddings, though there does not appear to be bans on standing.

New Jersey is lifting its ban on dancing at private events such as weddings this week.

Beginning in March, New York state allowed bigger weddings but required COVID-tests/vaccinations for all attendees, and created 36 square foot dance zones (6 feet away from others) which allowed people to dance at their own table with people at their table, but no others. Unlike in DC, ceremonial first dances were allowed with family members. However, NY removed these requirements this week.

Potential Alternatives

I expect this guidance to be adjusted throughout the month and summer; people with weddings scheduled in July/August should realize that the rules will look very different then. Given DC’s stance on standing/dancing in the restaurant realm, I doubt a full-on dance floor will be permitted this month. But I think they should consider soon allowing the dance pods that NY state had and loosening restrictions for private parties were full vaccination is confirmed for all eligible, and negatives tests for everyone else ineligible, particularly if the wedding is of a certain size. For example, smaller weddings have less risk; so a wedding of 50 or less that would be allowed to have dancing at someone’s home should still be allowed to have dancing at a facility.

In addition, it doesn’t make sense to treat event venues differently than restaurants, including restricting tables to 6 instead of 10, and most significantly, restricting outdoor events to 25%/250 people (though order was poorly worded on this front) when there’s no such outdoor capacity for restaurants. It’s as if DC didn’t realize it’s rules never prohibited restaurants from having socially distant weddings since last May.

After 24 Hours, DC Backtracks on Removing Indoor Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated

As first reported by Barred in DC (Patreon here), Mayor Bowser quietly issued a new mask mandate order on Friday (PDF was saved at 5:44pm and posted sometime later), removing nearly all mask mandates-including indoors-for fully vaccinated (2 weeks following final shot in series) DC residents, visitors, and workers. However, a backlash ensued due to the abrupt guidance following when I broke the news, and the order was revised to clarify issues, and reissued around 7p tonight (first reported by Washington City Paper). The new order essentially still eliminates the mask mandate for fully vaccinated persons outdoors, but no longer does the order lift the mask mandate for fully vaccinated indoors. Instead, the order just refers to DC Health guidance that exists and will be forthcoming.

The public link was taken down from the coronavirus.dc.gov (though the link above still works)

This new order significantly loosens mask requirements as compared to the DC Health mask guidance that was revised due to CDC’s new mask guidance of earlier this week. This mask order makes sense in some areas but there are more questions raised than answers, and many problematic (potentially disastrous) aspects with respect to indoor masking. (The order seems similar to the rule the Florida Surgeon General issued on Thursday)

Specifically, the new order issued Saturday contains the following mask rules:

Fully vaccinated people (unless exhibiting COVID symptoms or have COVID) are not required to wear a mask when

  • Gathering indoors with a small group of fully vaccinated people in a private setting as specified in DC Health guidance
  • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from one household (unless those people are or live with high-risk people)
  • Gathering or conducting activities outdoors (walking, running, biking) with members of their household except in crowded settings or venues
  • Attending small, outdoor gatherings of friends and family except in crowded settings or venues
  • Visiting outdoors with small gathering of vaccinated & unvaccinated persons that are not people you usually socialize with
  • Passing through a common area of apartments/condos/co-ops for a fleeting time
  • Inside a business, office building or other establishment open to members of the public unless establishment has more stringent rules

Fully vaccinated people must wear a mask when

  • Gathering or conducting activities outdoors in crowded settings or venues
  • Driving or riding taxi/rideshare/public transit
  • DC Health Guidance says so indoors

People who are not fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask when

  • Leaving residence when not likely to come into contact with another person, such as not being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time including when visiting outdoors with small gathering of vaccinated persons

People who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask when

  • Leaving residence when likely to come into contact with another person-such as being within six feet of another person
  • Driving or riding taxi/rideshare/public transit
  • DC Health Guidance says so indoors

All people are not required to wear a mask when

  • A resident or guest in private home/apartment
  • Actually eating, drinking, or legally smoking
  • Engaging in vigorous outdoor exercise and maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • In water in swimming pool
  • In enclosed private office
  • Unable to do to medical condition/disability
  • 0-2 years old
  • giving a speech if no ones is within 6 feet
  • deaf/hard of hearing person needs to read lips of speaker
  • equipment required for job precludes mask
  • Asked for legal facial recognition
  • Services that require access to face, mouth, or head, including without limitation, dental care, shaving, and facial treatment

The order also explicitly acknowledges that establishments can decide to admit, register, or employ only fully vaccinated people only (i.e., vaccine passport). It says that (which is based on Federal law) must provide exceptions for those medically unable to be vaccinated…and religious accommodations to those who forbid them from being vaccinated. But those people still have to be masked. The order mentions that businesses can donate or provide incentives to fully vaccinated people.

My thoughts on Friday’s Order

This is not about Saturday’s order.

Good

  • DC essentially adopted the CDC’s mask guidance for fully vaccinated persons outdoors by removing most restrictions for outdoor activities.
  • Providing some guidance on rules for requiring vaccinations for entry to a business or employment
  • Possibly creating some incentives for vaccinations, in theory

Bad

  • Going completely against CDC guidance which says “Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask(because the vaccination status of others is unknown) by lifting requirements for masking indoors for fully vaccinated
    • Putting onus, without any proper guidance or development regarding vaccine passports/verification, on businesses to verify vaccination status. THis will be be a nightmare. Businesses will likely keep the status quo to avoid doing this, but then will no longer have the government default rule which will undoubtedly cause issues with customers
  • People who are not fully vaccinated will be able to not mask up and spread the virus to others vulnerable because there’s no way to tell who’s vaccinated or not
  • Not explicitly allowing unvaccinated persons in one household to not mask up when gathering with vaccinated people as explicit in CDC guidance
  • No relation to boosting economy if that was intention-Instead of increasing capacity, hours, providing bar seating, appearing to eliminate indoor mask mandates seems to skip a lot of steps that are less risky and cause less potential for bad encounters with staff and employees.
  • Given DC’s very cautious nature during reopening particularly since November 2020, this is a total 180 which will cause immediate anxiety to people and businesses without any warning.
  • This was quietly released on the DC website without any fanfare, press release, or tweet, without any explanation, just 2 days after DC Health published guidance (which was referred to by the Mayor in a press release) which was significantly more narrow. Businesses and people don’t know what to do. ABRA regulations and other DC Health guidance on masks are still on the website. Are there mask rules at outdoor restaurants? What about indoor restaurants?

I hope the Mayor and DC Health modify this order ASAP. [They did]

I asked Neil Sehgal, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at University of Maryland his thoughts. This is what he had to say via Twitter:

This feels counterproductive for two reasons: 1) the burden for enforcement (or verification of vaccination) falls on businesses, creating an adversarial relationship with customers at a time when they them most, and 20 today only 1 in 3 DC residents is fully vaccinated. I understand the want to return to a sense of normalcy, certainly. And, I am sympathetic to arguments that the CDC guidance is too restrictive for vaccinated persons. But, some of the 2/3 of DC residents who get vaccinated today won’t reach full immunity until the middle of June. Exposing unvaccinated residents to additional risk, especially given the inequities in vaccine distribution we’ve seen in DC, seems unnecessary. Even if relaxing indoor-mandates for the vaccinated is consistent with science, it isn’t consistent with where we are right now in DC.

Zeynep Tufekci also weighed in saying, “I agree. I think indoor mandates should be more blanket because selective enforcement is difficult and unwise, but that should be made clearer so that it’s understood why that’s not about vaccine efficacy.” She linked to her The Atlantic piece where this is discussed.

Here’s CDC’s guidance to show where this succeeds and fails

DC Revises Mask Rules Following CDC Guidance. What’s Required Now?

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

THIS POST HAS BEEN REVISED.-Mayor Bowser’s office issued a mask order which it then revised. Read more here.

DC updated its mask rules (essentially amending the mayor’s order which is contemplated by the order itself) this week following CDC’s new guidance. The most significant change from the previous guidance was eliminating the requirement that residents, workers, and visitors “must wear a cloth face covering or mask when outdoors and coming into contact with another person outside of your household, such as being within six (6) feet.” Although some states like Maryland (though not Montgomery County) responded to the CDC guidance to remove outdoor mask mandates except for large events, including on outdoor dining, because it’s difficult to know vaccination status of everyone, it appears DC used the same rationale (it’s difficult to know vaccination status of everyone – less than 1/3 are fully vaccinated) to keep the rest of the outdoor mandate.

Still, because the rules that now exist are a patchwork of the original mayor’s order, the new DC Health guidance (sometimes couched as a requirement, sometimes couched more as guidance/recommendation) on masks and fully vaccinated people; and the other DC Health guidance, I thought it would be helpful to put this in a bulleted list. Italics refer to something not explicit in guidance but I feel is a logical extension.

Not Required to Wear a Mask

  • Actively eating, drinking or legally smoking
  • Vigorous outside exercise socially distant
    • Likely redundant
  • Walking (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Running (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Biking (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Roller-skating/rollerblading (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • If not fully vaccinated, when leaving residence when not likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within 6 feet of another person
  • In the water at a pool
  • In a work shower or any authorized locker room
  • In enclosed private office
  • Giving speech (no one within 6 feet)
  • Speaking/translation for deaf/hard of hearing
  • If equipment for a job precludes wearing of mask
  • Performers at restaurants/entertainment venues if mask hinders performance (e.g., singer or instrument played through mouth
  • Visiting an uncrowded park or playground with members of household

If you’re Not fully Vaccinated (NOTE: not recommended if you’re high risk)

  • Small, casual outdoor gathering w/ family/friends if everyone who is not fully vaccinated is from your household

If you’re fully vaccinated

  • Small casual outdoor gathering w/ family/friends (including people you don’t normally socalize with)
  • Small casual indoor gathering in private setting (unless higher risk unvaccinated people present or unvaccinated people from multiple households

Required to Wear Mask

  • Inside establishments open to members of public such as
    • Businesses (restaurants, stores, grocery stores, farmers markets, hotels, barbershops, salons, spas)
    • Office buildings
    • Places of worship
    • Gyms
    • Museums, libraries
    • Movie theaters, including during the movie
      • Except for limited purpose and time of period necessary to consume food and beverages
  • In common areas of apartments/condos/co-op
  • Riding in
    • Taxi
    • Ride-share
    • Public transportation
  • Schools, school busses, and in any school-related activities
  • Construction site workers and visitors
  • Performers at restaurants/entertainment venues unless mask hinders performance (singer or instrument played through mouth)
  • Restaurant staff while working (indoor or outdoor)
  • Restaurant patrons while not eating or drinking (indoor or outdoor)
    • While ordering food
    • Prior to being served
    • After completion of meal (New in ABRA regulation: when tables have been cleared but before leaving)
    • When waiting in line outside of establishment
    • When traveling to use restroom              
  • Common area of pools, including pool decks
  • If not excepted above (unclear what this encompasses)
    • When attending a small, outdoor gathering with people outside your household when you’re not the only non-fully vaccinated person
    • Visits to a crowded park or playground
    • Mass gatherings
      • Organized Public events
      • Neighborhood gatherings
      • Festivals
      • Weddings
      • Sporting events as fans

Note: The Biden administration’s executive order for masking on Federal property is still in effect. As a result, on National Park Service land (National Mall, all the Circles, and many of DC’s parks), masks are required outdoors when “physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes.”

arguably not Required to Wear Mask

These areas seem like could be argued a mask not required, but not 100% clear

  • Walking, running, biking, rollerblading, visiting an uncrowded park/playground with a small group of friends/family when fully vaccinated
  • Walking, running, biking, roller-skating, visiting an uncrowded park/playground with a small group of friends/family when the only non-fully vaccinated people are from your household