Some businesses located inside the security perimeter for next Wednesday’s inauguration are already making operational changes. Those changes come as a local group calls on hotels in the area to close for several days, rather than host those who could be intent on causing more disruption and violence.
“We’re telling our businesses they should have their employees come and get what they need to work from home for the next week or so,” Leona Agouridis, the executive director of Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, said.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Agouridis noted that much of its member businesses, which include some hotels, are located within the inauguration security perimeter.
"Many buildings are boarding up, and there will more than likely be additional buildings boarding up in the next few days," Agouridis said.
In Georgetown, hospitality businesses always bustle during a presidential inauguration. Even during a pandemic, visitors are expected to come.
"We have not heard of any of our restaurants who are planning to be closed. There is concern that the Mayor may call for a curfew again if there's unrest," Joe Sternlieb, CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, said.
Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown, for instance, will host guests, as it has for dozens of inaugurations. However, it will be the first inauguration where they can only dine outside, due to the District’s pandemic restrictions.
"I know it's going to be a huge hurdle, but I think that people will still want to come and be here. You know, just wear your mask and we're going to take care of you," William A. Martin, Jr., of Martin's Tavern, said.
The groups Black Lives Matter DC and ShutDown DC are asking hotels in the area to follow the lead of Airbnb and cancel bookings for Jan. 15 through Jan. 21, while paying employees.
"We've seen in November and December that these hotels are hubs for fascist activity, they're hubs that people launch violent attacks out of and the hotels in town unfortunately don't seem to care about that," one activist, Andrew Sobey, said.
The Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott hotel chains all said their properties in the D.C. area will remain open.
Leaders from D.C., Maryland and Virginia have warned people to stay out of the restricted area in the District at the time of the Inauguration.