DC restaurants reopen under Phase One, supported by streateries program

Many restaurants with little or no outdoor space previously are becoming ‘streateries’

The District of Columbia entered Phase One and lifted restrictions, allowing restaurants to open for ourdoor dining, effective May 29. In addition, restaurants are able to operate as “streateries,” provided they first apply at no charge. This enables restaurants to use public and private space to operate outdoor seating on a temporary basis through July 24, 2020. Taverns, private clubs, hotels, and other related eligible businesses are also reopening with certain restrictions.

On a national level, the closing of restaurants have taken a big toll on the industry. $80B in sales were lost during the months of March and April, according to the National Restaurant Association, with more COVID-19 losses to come. While operating in takeout mode during March, April and May, limited-service eateries (those with no table service) have fared the best. Around Washington, DC, several table-service restaurants were forced to close temporarily or permanently.

A list of DC restaurants that have closed permanently is a testament to how much the health crisis has impacted the city. According to a list compiled by DCist, Momofuku, The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Eat at National Place, and Campono have shuttered, at least in part, due to the pandemic.

The reopening of restaurants under Phase One signals a new chapter for local small businesses in DC, and it provides an opportunity for patrons to return for our struggling eateries for outdoor dining. It’s a long road ahead, as restrictions and customer fears will hold a fair amount of business back. As sister news site Eatery Pulse News reported, up to 13 percent of restaurants will most likely close permanently around the country. According to Datassential, a menu-analytics firm, about 55 percent of customers are avoiding eating out.

During reopening, restaurants with the most existing outdoor space, including rooftops, will have an advantage. But under the streateries provisions, many additional restaurants can take part in DC’s reopening. To apply, navigate to the Google form or visit Mayor Muriel Bowser’s website.

Photo credit: Fabien Maurin

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