The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is back open for large events despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in D.C. and a string of deadly shootings.
Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed locals and visitors back to the downtown convention center on Tuesday, helping Ben’s Chili Bowl co-owner Virginia Ali cut the ribbon on the D.C. legend’s newest location.
The convention center will host the Otakon Asian pop culture festival this weekend, followed by the comic convention Awesome Con starting Aug. 20. Each event will have about 15,000 attendees.
Bowser was asked if it’s the right time to encourage travel to D.C., when many visitors may not be vaccinated.
“It is always a good time to talk about our city, to talk about the destination and everything people can enjoy — that’s for Washingtonians, people from Maryland and Virginia, and all over the country,” she replied.
Events DC cited multiple safety measures, including the indoor mask requirement, temperature checks and technology that monitors social distancing. Visitors will not need to show vaccination cards.
COVID-19 cases are spiking in D.C. and nationally as the delta variant spreads.
The murder rate in D.C. also continues to climb. A father of four was recently shot and killed blocks from the convention center. His family says he was an innocent bystander.