News & Politics

DC’s Biggest Venues: Please Let Us Fully Reopen on July 1

They say Mayor Bowser hasn't provided a "substantive response." They also want her to know they can host vaccination sites.

Photograph by Evy Mages

Update: After this post was published, Mayor Bowser announced that sports and entertainment venues can reopen without capacity limits on June 11.

I.M.P. and Monumental Sports and Entertainment want DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to set July 1 as the day when they can reopen their venues at full capacity.

In a letter to Bowser sent last week, the local presenters offered to make their venues—which include Capital One Arena, the Anthem, the 9:30 Club, and others—available as vaccination centers, and to provide buses to “transport medical workers to communities in need of vaccinations or bring residents to vaccination sites.” They also say they could organize “faith leaders, athletes from the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, and the Washington Mystics, and our staff” to promote vaccination.

They would also like to know when they can go back to business as it was before the pandemic shut down the area last March. July 1 will mark two months since DC went to a walk-up model for obtaining vaccines, and in their industry, “we cannot flip a switch to reopen,” the letter says. “Concerts, games, and events are being scheduled and booked in other cities, and we are at a distinct disadvantage if we cannot also provide the metrics for which we will be permitted to host events.”

Last year the ReOpen DC Advisory Group recommended the city go to Stage 4—life as it used to be, inasmuch as possible—when there is an “effective vaccine or cure.” We’re just about there, the presenters argue. So far, I.M.P. communications director Audrey Fix Schaefer says, the group has “not received a substantive response” from Bowser’s office and is hopeful she’ll address reopening at her press conference Monday at 11. Letter below:

Mayor Bowser Letter May 6 2021 by Washingtonian Magazine on Scribd

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.