Democratic Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has banned dancing at wedding receptions because of COVID-19.
The mayor issued the order last week along with new masking policies and changes in other restrictions for businesses and gatherings. The dance policy specifically has caused a nightmare for some wedding planners as they try to move their events to venues outside the city, according to WUSA 9.
Stephanie Sadowski of SRS Events said she was “completely shell-shocked” at Bowser’s order. “There’s hardly been any time to react, rather than being incredibly frustrated and angry with Washington, D.C., and Mayor Bowser for completely blindsiding us,” she said.
Bowser’s order not only bans people from dancing, but even just standing at a wedding reception. The order states:
Beginning May 1, multi-purpose facilities and venues may host events such as weddings and special non-recurring events provided that there may be no more than twenty five percent (25%) of capacity in any room or up to two hundred fifty (250) persons, not including facility staff, whichever is fewer. A waiver is needed for attendance greater than two hundred fifty (250) persons. Attendees and guests must remain seated and socially distanced from each other or other household groups. If these events include dining, facilities and venues shall adhere to the rules established for restaurants and licensed food establishments. Standing and dancing receptions are not allowed.
Updated regulations have caused frustration amid a number of business owners who felt that Bowser’s changes in COVID-19 restrictions were being crafted without input from the district’s businesses. Restaurant and store owners in the city complained about confusing mask guidance the mayor issued on Friday allowing vaccinated people to go maskless inside. The order also allowed store workers to ask for proof of vaccination, a form of “vaccine passport” policy that some states have outright banned.
“We are very confused as to what we can do and what we can’t do,” Mark Bucher, co-founder of the restaurant Medium Rare, told The Washington Post. “That can be a case of the right hand not talking to the left hand, but it isn’t easy for us to distill the tea leaves.”
Ian Hilton, who owns a number of bars and restaurants in Washington, said the new mask rules would cause more anger and pit the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.
“My read tells me you can have stricter ‘house rules’ but of course that will lead to more confrontations between staff and customers. Should have focused on increasing capacity rather than drawing the battle lines between the vaxxed and unvaxxed. A further divided world awaits,” he tweeted.
Bowser issued updated regulations on Saturday, again revamping the city’s masking policies and apparently backtracking from the order allowing vaccinated people to walk unmasked through stores and restaurants. The new order still allows workers to ask for proof of vaccination, however. The Post reported on the new order:
By 6:45 p.m. Saturday, an updated order on the city’s website reiterated the CDC rules and said simply that “businesses and other institutions are authorized to request to see someone’s vaccine card or other adequate proof of vaccination, consistent with any applicable federal or local law.”
The Saturday evening order no longer included language that said businesses, offices and other public establishments should post signs saying people cannot enter unless they’re wearing masks or are fully vaccinated as the previous order did. The new order also didn’t include language about having businesses eject people who weren’t wearing masks if they weren’t fully vaccinated or otherwise exempt.
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