It's a classic D.C. sight, especially in April when crab season kicks off: Crowds of customers waiting for freshly cooked seafood at The Wharf Fish Market.
But a delicious springtime tradition must adapt as coronavirus cases grow in the D.C. region. Over the weekend, leaders shut down the country's longest-running open-air fish market because the crowds violated social distancing rules.
On Tuesday, one of the restaurants at The Wharf's Fish Market plans to reopen with a system adapted for something that seemed unfathomable months ago.
Jessie Taylor Seafood says they will start cooking before customers order so people won't have to wait for their orders. Customers are advised to place their orders ahead of time by calling 202-554-4173.
The restaurant asks that only one household member at a time come to pick up food. They also erected barriers and plan to have security on-premises.
"We have lots of employees that need to continue to get a paycheck and really hate to put them out of work, but without the patrons cooperation we will have to close because we will not put our workers lives in danger (sic)," the restaurant said in a statement.
After shutting down the market due to crowding on Saturday, city officials said that businesses could reopen if they present a plan for social distancing and safe practices to the D.C. Restaurant Association.
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Vendors in the Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf in Southwest D.C. were told to close by Mayor Muriel Bowser's office after large crowds gathered there on Saturday were not observing social distancing guidelines.