In DC, only select restaurants and bars will reopen Friday

D.C. is attempting to clear up any confusion among bars and restaurants wondering if they’re permitted to start serving patrons outdoors.

Starting Friday, only establishments with preapproved use of outdoor space, such as patios and rooftops, can reopen them, Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio told WTOP.


But Falcicchio said the city will release a plan on the first day of reopening — Friday — for other places to apply for approval to use public space.

“It’s a process by which those who want to use more of the public space, how they can apply to use that public space,” said Falcicchio. “Or for those who are using a public space if they want to expand it, we’ll lay out that process.”

Establishments with preapproved use of public space must practice social distancing with outdoor tables 6 feet apart and no more than six patrons per table.

As far as enforcement of those rules, Falcicchio said people should call 311; and inspectors from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and DC Health will respond.

“What we’ve done throughout the pandemic is we’ve led with compliance and then follow it with enforcement,” Falcicchio said. “So we don’t want to go in and try to fine people if they’re really making a best effort to comply. We’re going to show them how they should comply and ask for them to follow up on that. If they don’t, then there will be enforcement.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration is hosting a teletownhall specifically to update the public on outdoor dining Friday at 1 p.m.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C. 

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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