You Can Now Sit at a Bar in Virginia

DC still doesn't allow bartenders to serve patrons behind a bar.

Professional bartender serving a cocktail in the glass with one big ice cube on the bar counter in the blurred background

Remember sitting at a bar and ordering a drink from a bartender? It’s been a while since that simple activity has been allowed in much of the greater Washington area due to pandemic regulations. But in an executive order quietly updated on Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam is allowing Virginia bar patrons to be seated at a bar for service as long as there is a minimum of six feet between parties.

Bar seating is allowed in DC, but bartenders can’t staff or use a bar where patrons are seated. The Maryland suburbs already allow staffed bars with proper social distancing.

Meanwhile, plenty of other restrictions also remain in place. Virginia and DC food and drink establishments must close on-premise dining by midnight. Virginia also requires parties to be spaced six feet apart throughout the dining room. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties cap indoor capacity at 50-percent. In DC, the limit is 25-percent.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.