DC bans indoor dining, adds new restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

The District will prohibit indoor dining and add new restrictions just before Christmas, according to a new D.C. order released Friday.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order will close museums and libraries, require reservations to swim in a city pool, halt DC Circulator National Mall routes and recommend nonessential businesses to telework.

Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio tells WTOP the order goes into effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday and will remain until 5 a.m. Jan. 15.

During the ban, restaurants can continue outdoor dining and carryout and delivery services. D.C. joins Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in banning dining inside restaurants.


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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.


The restrictions follows another grim week for local coronavirus numbers when hospitalizations and deaths continued to rise. Within the new order, D.C. officials noted that the number hospitalizations and ICU patients has doubled this past month.

Currently, D.C. restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores and houses of worship are held to 25% indoor capacity, with a maximum of 250 people.

Several Maryland counties and the city of Baltimore have recently moved to place restrictions on indoor dining, though many of those have been met with lawsuits.

A Maryland-based restaurant group has filed a lawsuit challenging the indoor dining restrictions in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties as well as Baltimore.

In Anne Arundel County, a circuit court judge ruled against an order banning both indoor and outdoor dining and granted restaurant owners an extension to continue serving customers in their establishments until Dec. 28.

WTOP’s Ken Duffy contributed to this report. 

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He joined the WTOP newsroom in 2020 after graduating from the University of San Diego, where he studied physics and philosophy.

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