Restaurants and bars across the District of Columbia are restricted to 50% capacity indoors, so many have opened outdoor dining areas to accommodate more clients. That’s great, right up until winter weather arrives. Even in the fall D.C. can be miserable with cold rain and ice. What’s a restaurant to do?
Some eateries are planning to close at the end of October and wait to see what happens, but that risks closing forever and shuts off vital tax revenue for the city.
Enter Mayor Muriel Bowser, who issued a “scientific” answer to the problem: Restaurants and bars can use tents and portable heaters to winterize their outdoor space. There’s even a grant program for buying the necessary supplies called the Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program.
While it’s great that the Mayor wants to support local businesses and give them a path to remain open, it’s not clear how putting a tent over an outdoor area is any different than, say, indoor dining, except that it adds extra hassle and cost. Neighboring state Maryland just increased indoor capacity to 75%. Maybe that’s a better way to go.