Washington D.C. on Friday shut down indoor dining until mid-January as part of a number of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, as cases again surged in the capital.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that restaurants would be restricted to takeout and outdoor dining only. The order also shuts down museums, restricts libraries to pick up and drop-off, and requires workers at non-essential businesses to work remotely.
The order goes into effect on Wednesday and lasts until Jan. 15.
The number of hospitalizations has doubled since November to 246 with and 80 in the ICU, Bowser’s office said, while the infection rate has increased to 35.22 per 100,000.
The order notes the initial rollout of vaccines and says that “taken together, legal restrictions, self-limitation of activity, and the vaccine’s deployment can prevent disease, save lives and prevent a crisis at our hospitals.”
The move is likely to face opposition from restaurant groups, who argue that such restrictions are harmful, and there is no evidence of a clear link between indoor dining and coronavirus transmission.
Bowser’s move came the same week as indoor dining was shut down in New York City, even as New York state released contract-tracing data which showed bars and restaurants accounted for just 1.43% of COVID-19 cases in the three months ending in November.
Bowser has faced pushback over a number of restrictions, as well as her own actions during the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Bowser loosened coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship, following a lawsuit from the Archdiocese of Washington, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
The new order allows houses of worship to allow 25% of their capacity or 250 people, whichever number is fewer. Houses of worship were previously capped at 50 people.
Fox News’ Evie Fordham contributed to this report.