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D.C. Will Require Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining in 2022

Patrons 12 and up must show proof of at least one dose by January 15

Coronavirus - Vaccination campaign in the stadium of Hannover 96 Photo by Moritz Frankenberg/picture alliance via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Anyone who wants to dine and drink inside D.C. restaurants and bars will be required to show proof of vaccination at the door, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Wednesday, December 22, in response to a recent record-setting spike in new COVID-19 cases.

Starting Saturday, January 15, 2022, customers 12 and over will be required to show proof that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Come Saturday, February 15, proof of two doses will be required.

D.C. joins a growing list of urban areas cracking down on vaccine requirements as the highly infectious omicron variant rapidly spreads coast to coast. New York City has required vaccine proof for months, but cities like Philly, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles recently announced or introduced proof-of-vax mandates in order to dine indoors.

In addition to restaurants, bars, food halls, and nightclubs, many other indoor establishments are included in the D.C. mandate. That includes gyms and “indoor cultural and entertainment facilities” like music and sports venues, movie theaters, and more.

Proof can be the original vaccination card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a photo or copy of the card; immunization record printout from a pharmacy or healthcare provider; or a vaccine verification app such as VaxYes or CLEAR.

“If you are a resident who is not yet vaccinated and you want to keep enjoying these activities, now is the time to get vaccinated,” Bowser says.

The mandate does not require proof of vaccination for those only “briefly entering” buildings to use a restroom or picking up a takeout order.

This week, D.C. reinstated its indoor mask mandate just a month after taking it off.