WASHINGTON — After more than a year of limited capacity, contact tracing and mask mandates at restaurants, bars and nightclubs, D.C. partygoers will finally get to cherish a pre-pandemic nightlife atmosphere as the city rescinds the last of its COVID restrictions.
On Wednesday, D.C.'s Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC) voted unanimously to suspend the requirement for restaurants and bars to offer a reservation and contact tracing system, effective starting June 11, the same day Mayor Muriel Bowser's order to limit nightclubs to 50% capacity is set to expire.
The loosening of regulations coincides with a poll that suggests Americans are engaging in more outside of home activity than compared to at any point during the pandemic.
As of June 2, only 37 outbreaks have been traced back to food and drink establishments, according to the city's data.
The ABC's vote does not ban restaurants and bars from independently implementing precautionary measures, which means some places may still require patrons to make reservations and submit contact information.
While masks are no longer by D.C., private business -- including these restaurants, bars and clubs -- can still require employees and customers to do so.
The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration -- overseen by the ABC -- has only revoked one liquor license at a Shaw establishment for violating its COVID regulations. Throughout the city's Phase Two reopening plan, the administration issued 24 citations to establishments who failed to implement a reservation system, according to city data.