In a change in policy that came at the same time as the change in presidents, indoor dining is now being allowed by several Democratic officials.
Washington, D.C., allowed indoor dining again starting Friday, according to Fox Business.
In its reporting on the decision, The Washington Post noted that it came even though the city was in the so-called “red zone” of infections.
The Post reported that, in theory, red zone conditions are supposed to result in a ban on indoor dining.
Many found the timing of the change significant, if not downright suspicious:
Washington DC’s Mayor just suddenly decided to lift the ban on indoor dining—two days after Joe Biden’s inauguration.
This was never about the virus. It was about getting Donald Trump out of office.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 22, 2021
Trump leaves and suddenly Covid isn’t a public health issue anymore. Schools may resume, indoor dining may resume, etc. We didn’t see this one coming. ?
— ??? ? (@kortney_erin) January 21, 2021
Democrat mayors and governors all over the country are lifting their indoor dining bans and restrictions on gatherings 2 days into Biden’s “presidency”
Can yall see it now?? It was never about the virus. It was all about hurting us and Trump.
— American Made (@2N26RTR) January 22, 2021
Baltimore is also allowing indoor dining with capacity limits on restaurants.
“We’re just hopeful that we can continue to keep them open and hopeful that our cases continue to go the way they have,” Democratic Mayor Brandon Scott told WBFF-TV.
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that after returning from President Joe Biden’s inauguration, she decided the virus numbers were such that restaurants could reopen.
“The pause has worked. The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives,” Whitmer said, according to Fox Business.
The move brought a variety of reactions, according to WXMI-TV.
“As one of the only states with an indoor dining ban, the pause has had a devastating impact on this industry and its workforce, putting many workers on unemployment and small businesses on the edge of bankruptcy with an uncertain future,” Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Baker told the station.
Justin Winslow, president of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, called the change “good, if overdue news.”
Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said Trump-era lockdowns imposed by Whitmer have already had an impact.
“At the end of the day, roughly 5 percent of bars and restaurants in the state have already closed for good. Overbearing restrictions like these will keep places closed because they’ll lose less money being closed than by being open at 25 percent,” Ellis said.
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