Restaurant leaders in Cleveland Park react to DC vaccine requirement

Starting Jan. 15, patrons of D.C. restaurants will have to show proof of vaccination before dining in, and business leaders are preparing for the changes.

Nick Nguyen, manager of Cleveland Park’s Spices Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar, said he believes the reaction among the customer base will be similar to when the mask mandate first rolled out in the city, where some went along with it while others, “Some of them walked away and said ‘I don’t want to do that.’”

Down the block at Sababa’s Restaurant, chef Ryan Moore said he thinks there will be backlash, but “it’s a relief knowing that, as a chef, the mayor isn’t going to shut down restaurants again.”

Moore said the vaccination requirement will protect him and the restaurant staff.

“There will always be pushback under any new policy. But, people will always adjust,” he said.

Enforcement of the requirement goes into effect Jan. 15 at 6 a.m., and proof of a second dose will be required starting Feb. 15. Officials say the requirement is not placed on an employer or owner of an establishment, but instead on the patrons who are visiting.

Some establishments, such as grocery stores, places of worship and museums are exempt.

Acceptable forms of proof of vaccination in D.C. include a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued vaccination card, an immunization print out from the patient portal of a person’s vaccine or health care provider, or through a COVID-19 verification app like VaxYes or CLEAR.

Neighboring Montgomery County, Maryland, has proposed a similar mandate for its bars and restaurants.

WTOP’s Will Vitka and Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.


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.

Gigi Barnett

Gigi Barnett is an anchor at WTOP. She has worked in the media for more than 20 years. Before joining WTOP, she was an anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, and a staff reporter at The Miami Herald. She’s a Navy wife and mom of three.

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