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DC Bans Indoor Dining, Tightens COVID Restrictions Ahead of Christmas, New Years

December 23, 2020 by Dan McCue
DC Bans Indoor Dining, Tightens COVID Restrictions Ahead of Christmas, New Years
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser wears a face mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, as she leaves a news conference on the coronavirus and the District's response, Monday, July 20, 2020 in Washington. In the face of newly rising infection numbers, Bowser says she'll issue an executive order making face masks mandatory outside the home. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia will ban indoor dining as of Wednesday night and is tightening other restrictions to tamp down on a surge of coronavirus cases.

According to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the tightened measures are needed due to an anticipated jump in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Nov. 16, the mayor’s office said, the total number of COVID-19 patents in District hospitals stood at 112, with 36 people in Intensive Care Units.

A month later, the number of COVID-19 patients has more than doubled, to 246 people, with 80 in ICUs, Bowser’s office said.

The mayor’s order goes into effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, and will stay in effect at least until 5 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.

“District residents are strongly advised to limit their activities to essential activities and travel, including work, school, childcare, government services, medical needs, food, supplies and exercise,” the order says.

While indoor dining must stop, restaurants can continue outdoor dining and carryout and delivery services.

All museums and libraries have to close under the new restrictions.

Beginning Wednesday, the DC Public Library will offer takeout service. Under this model, customers will be able to pick up holds, pick up remote print jobs and return books at designated points near a building’s entrance.

Customers can request materials for take-out service by calling a Library location, visiting dclibrary.org to use the catalog or the chat service. Library staff will work with the customer to schedule a pickup location. Public computers will not be available. Reading and meeting rooms will remain closed. 
 
When customers arrive at a Library location, they will give staff their name and Library card number. Library staff will place the reserved items on an identified table. Customers must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing while waiting

Reservations will be required to swim in a city pool or take part in individual fitness room sessions.

The DC Circulator National Mall routes will be canceled, and Bowser recommends that all nonessential businesses start teleworking if they haven’t already.

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

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