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Live entertainment is returning to D.C.   

Mayor Muriel Bowser is allowing six venues to host live entertainment under strict coronavirus guidelines: City Winery, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Pearl Street Warehouse, The Kennedy Center, The Hamilton, and Union Stage. (Read about how GALA Hispanic Theatre and The Kennedy Center prepared.)

No indoor show can be longer than three hours. And every venue can only host a maximum of 50 people—staff, performers, and customers included. Officials want to pilot the return of live entertainment at a small number of venues so they can use what they learn to inform future guidance. The pilot runs through Oct. 30.

When D.C. moved into Phase 2 on June 22, venues were able to apply to reopen through waivers. Now that COVID-19 cases are decreasing and plateauing, Bowser approved a limited number of live venues to reopen. (She hinted she would turn on additional Phase 2 activities after being asked about Phase 3.) It’s unclear how many venues applied and if every venue in the city felt like it could. One of the requirements is to “ensure good ventilation.” That suggests that a venue might need to update and replace its HVAC systems.  

Bowser also let a few organizations resubmit their plans for outdoor entertainment: Adams Morgan Partnership BID, Arena Stage, Busboys and Poets, Capitol Riverfront BID, District Wharf, Et Voila Restaurant, Heist Group at the Kennedy Center, and The Bullpen. 

It’s been said time and time again that these venues, for obvious reasons, were first to close and last to open. This is why many have been pleading for support. In a Washington Post op-ed, the spokesperson for the 9:30 Club and the Anthem, among other venues, said D.C.’s independent music venues would fold without help from Congress. 

“This seems like a reason to not pass music venue relief,” tweeted the local music initiative Listen Local First DC, in reaction to the news that Bowser is allowing six venues to reopen. 

The group, among dozens of other local venues, is trying to get the D.C. Council to pass the Music Venue Relief Act, which requests monthly financial aid between October 2020 and May 2021. In a press conference last week, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson did not comment directly on the bill when asked about it, but did say he wouldn’t want to pass legislation that creates winners and losers.  

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • As of Sept. 28, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 but 14 new positive cases. The total number of infections is now 15,264. [EOM]
  • Women’s March returns to D.C. Oct. 17 to protest Trump’s Supreme Court nomination. [Post]
  • How D.C.’s FY 2021 police budget stacks up against those of other major cities. [Bloomberg]

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

Pinto Cleared in Campaign Finance Complaint

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto did not violate campaign finance laws in connection with her […]

  • Washington Post editorial board endorses Christina Henderson and Marcus Goodwin for the two at-large Council seats. [Post, Twitter]
  • U.S. AG Bill Barr joins Mayor Muriel Bowser in pushing for criminal charges against protesters arrested in D.C. [NYT]

By Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Ari Gejdenson Dissolves Restaurant Group, Puts Employees in Charge

Before the pandemic, restaurateur Ari Gejdenson‘s Mindful Restaurants Group had a robust portfolio of restaurants […]

  • The pop-up Christmas bar has a new location this year—Death Punch in Adams Morgan. [Washingtonian]
  • Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee appears to be closing in Logan Circle soon. [PoPville]
  • Restaurant owners endorse Biden in a letter that also says Trump failed the industry. [Eater]

By Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Here’s a Five-Film Preview Guide to the AFI Latin American Film Festival

Most theaters in D.C. and Maryland remain closed, but that isn’t stopping AFI from showcasing […]

  • Misbehaviour is pleasant but ultimately shallow, our critic writes. [WCP]
  • How Ward 7’s Soufside Market empowers Black-owned businesses. [DCist]

By Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

With Unexceptional Season Over, the Nationals Face an Offseason of Change

In his final Zoom video conference call with reporters on Sunday, Sean Doolittle spoke about […]

  • Yadiel Hernández’s first MLB home run gave the Nationals a 8-7 walk-off win over the Phillies last night and the Nats swept the doubleheader. [Federal Baseball]
  • Former Washington Spirit rookie Kaiya McCullough may have left the NWSL and the United States for Germany, but her impact off the field is still being felt. [The Equalizer]
  • City Paper contributor Marisa Ingemi takes a look at some of the prospects the Capitals could draft with the 25th overall pick next month. [WCP]

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

City Lights: Get on the Mend with DCPL or Go to Carol Barsha’s Meadow

Are the sweatpants you’ve had on since March wearing thin? With COVID-19 restrictions making it […]

By Emma Sarappo (tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)