Washington DC

DC Kicks Off Restaurant Week as Businesses Weigh Proof of Vaccinations

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As Washington, D.C., approaches a second week of its indoor mask mandate, it also kicks off Restaurant Week.

"D.C. is open and Restaurant Week is back," D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falchiccio said.

Some restaurants are requiring diners provide proof of vaccination to eat inside.

Daisuke Utagawa, who owns several restaurants, said he's not ready start requring proof of vaccination.

"It's very difficult for us to enforce with the current infrastructure in place and limited number of staff that we have," Utagawa, partner with Daikaya Group, said.

A group made up of several theaters including Arena Stage and Shakespeare Theatre announced it will only allow vaccinated people to see its productions.

Meanwhile, a number of gyms and fitness centers sent Mayor Muriel Bowser a letter asking to be exempted from the mask mandate if they require customers show their vaccine cards.

"I need the mayor's office to help us to make this a requirement city-wide, and we could really start moving the dial on getting more people vaccinated," said Vida Fitness founder David Von Storch.

"The guidance in the District is all people over the age of 2 must wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status," DC Health said in a statement. "Waivers will not be granted to gyms or facilities on the mask mandate."

Falchiccio said Bowser's office is looking at all options, but a local D.C. vaccination passport isn't likely just yet.

"A vaccine passport is really hard for us to implement ourselves because the size of jurisdiction - even when you think about how we relate to the rest of the region," he said. "If we’re gonna have a passport, you're passport means that you can go anywhere with it. If we just have a one for the District, it doesn't have the same utility that, like, a national passport would have."

It is legal in D.C. for businesses to require proof of vaccination and they can refuse service to people who don't wear masks.

D.C. also has the authority to fine businesses that don't enforce the mask mandate.

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