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You don’t necessarily have to heat up a TV dinner and drink at home tonight. After a long delay of no industry-specific guidance, DC Water is working on an advisory for what restaurants and bars should do to serve customers safely in the zone impacted by the boil water advisory. 

“I’m utterly confused on what to do,” Brent Kroll of Maxwell Park says. “Have you heard of any good solutions?”

Reached by phone, John Deignan from DC Water provided the following information:

“They can serve bottled water, but if they’re going to serve tap water, they have to boil for three minutes beforehand. When using water for cooking, make sure it boils for three minutes.

If they wash their vegetables, they can wash them in tap water as long as they cook the vegetables afterwards.

Dishwashers are safe to use if they reach 160 degrees and have a sanitizing cycle.

For their ice, they should throw out all of the ice made with tap water and make fresh ice with boiled or bottled water.”

These instructions are fairly rudimentary. They don’t cover issues like what to do with soda guns, draft lines, and water filtration systems, for example.

Deignan says he will contact Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington once a formal advisory is compiled, which he will ask RAMW CEO Kathy Hollinger to send to the organizations members.

When news of the boil water advisory impacting much of Northwest and Northeast, D.C. broke, some restaurants sprung into action making decisions before hearing from DC Water. Some, like Sweetgreen, are closing. Others are staying open and letting their customers know what precautions they’re taking.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group, for example, will be doing the following at ChurchKey, Birch & Barley, Hazel, The Sovereign, and Iron Gate, according to a spokesperson. 

“We’ve purchased bottled water for service and are boiling all water for cooking. We’re also boiling water to wash dishes if our dishwashers have been affected, as well as burning all ice in the ice machine and unplugging the machines themselves. Some restaurants, like Birch/ChurchKey are having ice delivered. We’ve also purchased hand sanitizer for hand washing.”

At a press conference this morning, DC Water said the boil water advisory will likely be lifted by Saturday morning. The impacted area has already been trimmed down.

Update 2:15 p.m.: Here is the complete advisory DC Water issued to RAMW. 

Photo by Flickr user Michael Himbeault