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As Extremists Promise Armed Marches, D.C. Closes Indoor Dining Through Inauguration

Mayor Muriel Bowser references “public health and safety” while extending emergency measures

House Votes On Resolution Calling On Vice President Pence To Invoke 25th Amendment
President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated outside the Capitol on Wednesday, January 20
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

With armed extremists expected to return to D.C. and COVID-19 cases continuing a post-holiday spike, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the city’s short-term ban on indoor dining through inauguration festivities that are typically a huge revenue boost for the local hospitality industry.

Citing “public health and safety,” an official order released late Monday night extends the the city’s emergency measures until 5 a.m. Friday, January 22. The order expires two days after President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated outside the U.S. Capitol building, where a pro-Trump mob staged the insurrection last week that left six people dead, including one Capitol Police officer injured in the attack and another who later died by suicide.

In addition to limiting operations for restaurants, D.C. shut down its museums and suspended routes for Circulator buses. The National Park Service closed the Washington Monument, citing “credible threats.” Bowser has asked federal agencies such as Homeland Security to beef up security for inauguration. Airbnb says it is working to keep members of hate groups from securing rentals in D.C. and has pledged to ban anyone identified as a participant in the siege on the Capitol. Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington has postponed the start of widespread Winter Restaurant Week deals until January 25.

The conspiracy theorists and white supremacist groups that make up the most radical portions of Trump’s base have posted on mainstream social media platforms and forums like Parler and that they’re planning an armed march on the Capitol — and all 50 state capitols — in the days before the inauguration. ABC reports the FBI has flagged plans by an armed group to travel to the District on Saturday, January 16. That group has reportedly warned of a “huge uprising” if Congress attempts to remove Trump via the 25th Amendment. House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump yesterday.

D.C. restaurants are allowed to remain open for outdoor dining, carryout, and delivery during the state of emergency. Even before President Donald Trump incited an act of domestic terrorism that delayed Congress from certifying Biden’s win, many restaurants around downtown preemptively closed last Wednesday because they feared for the safety of their staff and projected measly sales while streets and parking were closed. One Capitol Hill restaurant, English pub the Alibi, was “overrun” with Trump supporters who crowded inside while defying regulations requiring masks and social distancing.

Shortly after a mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, Bowser called for a 6 p.m. curfew that effectively restricted professional kitchens from making everything but delivery orders, leading more restaurants to frantically shut down and send their staffs home. Bowser has warned she could call for additional curfews over the coming weeks.

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.