Coronavirus in DC

‘It's Very Exciting': DC Rolls Back Restrictions

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In downtown D.C., people headed out for adventure encountered a sunny day. And with capacity restrictions now lifted, the mood around town is just as sunny.

Aniket Shah and Anu Sood were visiting from Atlanta and Houston. "Everybody’s a little more comfortable, a little happier, and a little more social, yeah," Shah said.

The two have elderly relatives and had to be extra careful this past year.

"We were in lockdown; like, we stayed home the whole time," Sood said. "We didn’t go out."

As of Friday, most businesses in D.C. are now able to operate without any restrictions. Restaurants, wedding venues, places of worship, retail stores and gyms may all operate at 100% capacity, with no social distancing requirements.

Tables are filled at restaurants and seats are open at the bar again after the District lifted restrictions for almost all businesses. News4's Jackie Bensen reports from one of the city's oldest and most beloved restaurants: Mr. Henry's on Capitol Hill.

Now that vaccination rates are on the rise, and indoor capacity limits are lifted, many tell us they feel more comfortable heading out and about.

"I’m talking to you maskless confidently which is really nice... yeah, it’s very exciting; I like to travel a lot," said Kayla Sisco, visiting from Rochester.

Able and Cecily Shi are siblings who have reunited for first time since the pandemic began.

"Just feels good to finally see my family and have things kind of return to normal," said Able Shi.

People visiting D.C. now have more options for fun and food. Many museums are back open for business. And over at Valley Brook Tea in Dupont Circle, the dining room used to be half empty, but Friday morning, they filled it with tables once more.

"We look forward to just one step at a time and eventually get past this COVID situation," said owner Yunhan Zhang.

D.C. does still have a few restrictions in place. Bars and nightclubs can only have 50% capacity. While the mask mandate is now lifted, businesses can still require them. And some places have not yet reopened. 

"Right now we’re on the lookout for a bathroom and I feel like that’s gonna be a bit hard, because what’s open and what’s closed?" said Gabriel Hallberg of Calvert County.

A few businesses will have to wait a little longer for more restrictions to be lifted. Large sporting venues, bars and nightclubs, and music and entertainment venues won't be able to open at full capacity until June 11.

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