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D.C. Liquor Authority Fines Four Restaurants $1,000 For Violating Reopening Rules

ABRA also issued dozens of warnings to follow rules for masks, music volume, and early closing hours

Bartenders are required to wear masks in D.C.
Maksym Fesenko/Shutterstock
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

D.C.’s liquor authority is cracking down on dozens of bars and restaurants across the area that have not followed regulations the city put into place to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus during its second phase of reopening.

The Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) issued verbal and written warnings to 44 D.C. establishments — the vast majority of which sit in the Northwest quadrant — for violations like staying open past midnight and “insufficient” table spacing that doesn’t meet 6-foot distancing requirements. Other infractions include hookah service (Barcode) and not implementing a reservation system (Zorba’s Cafe).

Two businesses were slapped with $1,000 fines because employees and patrons were not wearing masks during inspections: Capitol Hill’s District Soul Food and Red Lounge near U Street NW. Mount Pleasant Sal-Mex spot Marleny’s and Lounge of Three on U Street NW also received $1,000 fines for not meeting a requirement to serve food with alcohol. Here’s a full list of the ABRA-issued violations, posted on Thursday, July 23:

Mayor Muriel Bowser enacted the second phase of the city’s reopening plan on Monday, June 22. Here’s a refresher of its guidelines:

  • Restaurants must operate at half capacity, space tables at least 6 feet apart, and to institute a six-person maximum per table.
  • Customers cannot sit or stand at bar tops, but workers can mix drinks from behind a bar if no customers are present. People can sit in bar areas if there are no workers behind the bar.
  • Restaurant workers must wear masks. If they handle food, they must wear gloves. All customers have to wear masks when they’re not eating or drinking.

D.C. restaurants first welcomed back customers on Friday, May 29 for half-capacity outdoor seating across patios, rooftops, and improvised outdoor spaces.