Customers must show proof of vaccination at many covered public establishments in Washington, DC, including restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues.
The vaccine mandate came into effect on January 15 with the aim of reducing transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as cases reach record highs in the district. Guests 12 and older must provide proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and those 18 and older must also show valid photo ID before entering establishments. From February 15, full vaccination, excluding booster shots, will be required.
Retail establishments, grocery stores, places of worship and healthcare facilities are among the places where customers do not have to show proof of vaccination.
Approximately 68% of District residents are fully vaccinated and 89% of District residents are at least partially vaccinated, making them eligible to be indoors in public spaces restricted by vaccination.
José Espinal, marketing coordinator at El Centro, a popular Mexican restaurant in Georgetown, hopes the vaccine mandate will ultimately increase business by making customers feel safer in public spaces.
“I think most companies will be able to adapt to the mandate,” Espinal wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I think a lot of customers were also concerned about the increase in cases, so I think that will alleviate some of their concerns about discharges.”
Venues that serve alcohol and violate the vaccine mandate will face two warnings from the Liquor Control Administration, with the third and fourth violations resulting in fines of $1,000 and $2,000. A fifth violation of the vaccination mandate will result in establishments facing the Liquor Control Administration, leading to the possible suspension of their liquor license.
The Big Board, a bar in the H Street Corridor neighborhood, became the first establishment in the district to receive a verbal warning not to require proof of vaccinations or post appropriate signage. The bar has come under scrutiny for a Tweeter last week stating that everyone is welcome despite the mandate.
Communicating to customers before the vaccine mandate was implemented made the transition easy and safe for entertainment venues, according to Jordan Silberman, chief executive of Capital One Arena.
“We had a great system in place to comply with Mayor Bowser’s vaccination mandate,” Silberman wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We proactively messaged our guests about the new policy, instituted use of the CLEAR Health Pass app (which we had already used for some concerts last year), and had knowledgeable staff who was able to help fans quickly and safely in the arena. .”
Individuals can show proof of vaccination with an official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card, a digital photo of their vaccination card, or a COVID-19 vaccination app, such as CLEAR. People with medical or religious exemptions must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 24 hours.
According to Zayan Baig (NHS ’25), who lives in the Washington, DC-Maryland-Virginia area and frequently visits the Georgetown neighborhood even when not on campus, the vaccination mandate will help students feel comfortable when they leave campus, where the student vaccination rate is 98% and reminders are needed.
“Even though we’re in the greater DC area, I’m reassured to know that in our Georgetown bubble, almost everyone on campus is vaccinated and that should help with a little bit of herd immunity, at least at the level of the campus,” Baig said. in an interview with The Hoya. “I personally have no problem having to show vaccination cards, I think it helps to feel a little more secure.”
The vaccination mandate should help keep employees, customers and residents of the district safe, according to Espinal.
“There is always a challenge with the new regulations, but our team has been so good at adapting to all the ups and downs of the past couple of years,” Espinal wrote. “I am convinced that they will also be able to adapt to this change. Hopefully, this new change will help increase DC’s vaccination rate.