Bowser selects José Andrés to co-chair pandemic response committee

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

José Andrés will lead a committee that examines and proposes plans to reopen the restaurant sector of D.C.

Acclaimed chef and visiting professor José Andrés will head a committee examining recovery plans for restaurants and food retailers amid the pandemic.

In a press release Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the members of the ReOpen D.C. Advisory Group, which will create a plan outlining a phased approach to open D.C., based on guidance from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The task force will split into 11 committees tackling recovery plans for services like education, retail, transportation and recreation, the release states.

Andrés will oversee a committee of 12 members who are responsible for addressing food accessibility challenges throughout D.C. and ensuring restaurants provide food safely during the pandemic, according to a release.

“Restaurants and their workers were also among the first businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic closures, and it’s argued that their operations may have to undergo significant changes to open safely and gain public confidence when re- opening,” the release states.

Andrés also flipped five of his D.C.-area restaurants into community kitchens to help feed families in the wake of COVID-19. Beefsteak, his franchise and a GWorld vendor, also transformed into a grocery for people to retrieve household items or takeout while in quarantine.

D.C. is predicted to return to a “new ‘normal'” by spring or summer 2021, according to a DC Health presentation released Friday. The District is projected to begin “slow recovery” in late summer with some businesses allowed to reopen with restrictions, followed by a recovery phase this fall, the presentation states.

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