“We are community spaces, and these are the times that people really look to us to connect to people," said Shallal, owner of Busboys & Poets and Eatonville.
"It’s a great opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors, get to discover things about themselves and the places they frequent."
The restaurateur, who said all but three tables were full at Busboys last night, rented nearby hotel rooms for his staff at all four locations -- three in Washington, D.C., and one in Northern Virginia -- so the business could remain open.
"That made it easy for them," he said.
The effort has also strengthened his resolve for the future. “If we can make it through this we can make it through anything,” he said.