Food  |  News & Politics

H Street’s the Big Board Is the First DC Restaurant to Receive a Warning for Violating the Vaccine Mandate

The bar and burger joint hinted on Twitter it would defy the rules.

Washington, Dc, USA - December, 23,2020: Close up view of blurred COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card by CDC in hand.

Over the first weekend of DC’s vaccine mandate for indoor dining, only one restaurant or bar was cited by government officials for not following the rules. The Big Board on H Street Northeast received a verbal warning for both not requiring proof of vaccination to enter and not posting mask signage. It also received a written warning for staff not wearing masks.

“As has always been the case for us, everyone is welcome. This rule applies yesterday, today and tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll see you January 16th,” the Big Board tweeted last week. The tweet quickly started to go viral with those opposed to vax mandates vowing to stop by for a burger, and others promising to boycott and report the establishment. Several followers immediately tagged the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which is charged with enforcing the vaccine mandate among alcohol-serving businesses.

The owners of the Big Board have not yet responded to Washingtonian‘s requests for comment. An employee who answered the phone Tuesday said investigators “came in a couple times.” He declined to comment further.

DC bars and restaurants that don’t enforce mask or vaccine rules get two warnings—the first verbal and the second written. On the third strike, businesses will face a $1,000 fine, then a $2,000 fine for an additional infraction. After a fifth violation, establishments will go before the DC liquor board, which has the power to suspend or revoke their liquor license.

Over the past week, an additional nine restaurants and bars received verbal warnings for staff not wearing masks. Notable among them is Harry’s, a favorite hangout of Trump supporters in recent years. The bar had to pay a couple thousand dollars in fines for allowing maskless crowds in 2020.

UPDATE 1/20/22: On Tuesday, January 18, the Big Board was issued a $1,000 fine for staff not wearing masks. They were also issued a written warning for not checking patrons for proof of vaccination and not posting mask signage.

The Daily Caller Senior Congressional Correspondent Henry Rodgers has since started a GoFundMe page to pay the Big Board’s fines. The campaign raised more than $2,000 in less than 12 hours.

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.