Bowser limits gathering sizes, alcohol sales as city braces for swelling caseload

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Contributing Photo Editor

The city’s new restrictions come as COVID-19 cases continue to balloon both in the D.C. area and across the country.

Mayor Muriel Bowser tightened the District’s COVID-19 restrictions Monday, trimming capacity numbers for in-person gatherings and limiting business operations as cases continue to surge in D.C. and across the country.

Bowser said during a press conference that the city will reduce outdoor gathering sizes from 50 to 25 people and cap indoor gatherings at 10 people starting Wednesday. She also announced that restaurants must cut off alcohol sales later than 10 p.m., although businesses are allowed to continue operating until midnight.

Bowser said city officials will further heighten dining restrictions on Dec. 14, when restaurant capacity will fall from 50 to 25 percent.

“These changes are meant to flatten the curve, help us to reserve hospital beds for the most in need of care and keep our community safe during this nationwide surge,” Bowser said at the press conference.

The city’s new restrictions come as COVID-19 cases continue to balloon both in the D.C. area and across the country. Foggy Bottom has seen the steepest spike in cases out of any D.C. neighborhood this fall, with the neighborhood’s positive tests last Thursday marking a 76.3 percent jump since the end of September.

University officials attributed a surge in cases in early October to a “trend” of social distancing violations and gatherings around the off-campus neighborhood, which local residents and students described as endangering local health and safety near campus over the course of the fall semester.

Bowser said indoor worship practices in the city may continue but at lower attendance levels. She said the number of people who can attend services will drop from 100 to 50 people and maximum capacity will fall from 50 to 25 percent.

Bowser also canceled all future indoor exercise classes and live entertainment and urged all nonessential workers to start teleworking from home. She said she plan to soon release “a forthcoming mayor’s order” to issue additional guidance about high-contact sports in the District.

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