DC mayor extends ban on indoor dining, activities before Inauguration Day

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The nation’s capital will have to wait a little longer to dine indoors.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser informed residents and visitors on Monday that the district’s Phase 2 reopening plans will be paused until Jan. 22. Bowser’s announcement came in the form a tweet, which linked to the pause extension.

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“Today, I issued Mayor’s Order 2021-004 to extend a pause of various activities in the District until Friday, January 22, 2021, at 5:00 a.m.” said the mayor’s tweet. 

The Phase 2 pause includes a ban on indoor dining, closed museums and libraries and more, according to the initial Mayor’s Order 2020-127 that halted reopening plans in December due to a rising number of coronavirus cases.

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There is an exception for outdoor dining, carryout and delivery services for restaurants, however.

The Office of the Mayor reports that its Phase 2 pause extension is being done because the nation and district have not succeeded in flattening the curve.

A ban on indoor dining has been in effect since Dec. 18 in Washington, D.C. Outdoor dining has been allowed with COVID-19 safety protocols. (iStock)

A ban on indoor dining has been in effect since Dec. 18 in Washington, D.C. Outdoor dining has been allowed with COVID-19 safety protocols. (iStock)

“More than 22 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 373,000 have died from the disease,” the mayor’s Jan. 11 order reads. “We have hit a new record in the District, with transmission at 41.22 new cases per 100,000 persons; total infections in the District have risen to 31,993, and tragically, 821 District residents have lose their lives due to COVID-19.”

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The mayor’s latest order is set to expire two days after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

It is not immediately clear if the Phase 2 pause will be extended again.

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Other Phase 2 activities that are paused include a suspended D.C. Circulator National Mall route and telework for non-essential businesses that don’t require in-person staff. The Department of Parks and Recreation are only offering reservations for individual swim and fitness room sessions while libraries can operate with pickup and drop-off services if the indoors remain closed.

Meanwhile, museum staff and contractors may enter facilities if they work on “minimum business operations.”

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Washington, D.C. began Phase 2 on June 22, 2020.

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