Yesterday, the Mayor announced dramatic pull-backs on a wide range of Covid restrictions. Most notably, she called for capacity limitations on restaurants to be removed by May 21st. Bars would follow on June 11th.
Right now, restaurants can only fill their inside dining to 25% of the normal capacity. Additionally, tables are required to meet spacing restrictions. Both of these rules will be lifted on May 21st. So in just two weeks, Georgetown restaurants can return to full indoor capacity.
Georgetown restaurants appear to have ultimately weathered the pandemic fairly well, all things considered. We lost a couple coffee shops (Bluestone Lane, Le Pain Quotidien, Paul Bakery, one of the Starbucks, and Peet’s), and a handful of lunch spots (District Pizza, Johnny Rockets, Luke’s Lobster, Sundavich, Subway, and Wisey’s). But only a few sit-down restaurants closed, including America Eats Tavern, Don Lobo’s, High Street Cafe, and Zannchi. Obviously not great to lose them, but it could easily have been a lot worse.
The immediate question is this: do the streateries continue? They have been a success, in GM’s opinion. But they are not universally popular. Several restaurants seem likely to give them up rather quickly, since their outdoor space is not great (Los Cuates, for example). Others have done such a good job with it (e.g. the Berliner) that making them permanent seems inevitable.
The overarching good news is that the city’s covid numbers are falling at such a pace that this dramatic reopening doesn’t seem totally unwarranted. Yesterday the city announced just 15 positive cases from the day before. That’s down from a peak of 430 on January 11th. Other metrics are also pointing in the right direction. So as long as we keep up the good work, these steps won’t seem reckless. If not….well they’ll seem reckless, but the city is very unlikely to backtrack now.