Duck noodle soup at Maketto
Duck noodle soup at Maketto Credit: Laura Hayes

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After D.C. recorded 844 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday and 508 cases Thursday, some local restaurants are announcing temporary closures on social media following positive test results or exposures. These precautionary pauses were common last winter before restaurant workers were eligible for the vaccine. The public appreciated the transparency.

D.C., where five confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported since Monday, is not alone. Cases are climbing in other major metropolitan areas, including ChicagoNew York, and London, prompting similar short closures at bars and restaurants.

Thip Khao in Columbia Heights will be closed tonight and tomorrow because an employee tested positive for COVID-19. “This measure is being taken mainly for precautionary reasons as this team member did not participate in service,” an Instagram post reads. “Rest assured all staff will be tested prior to reopening.”

The same goes for Slash Run in Petworth. “We had a staff member test positive for the coronavirus—everyone is fully vaccinated, but we do not want to spread any further,” says the Instagram post alerting customers the bar and burger joint will be closed throughout the weekend.

Compliments Only, a sandwich shop on 14th Street NW, is also offline. “We are a small but mighty team and a few our employees were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case,” they wrote on social media. “Until further notice, we are closed to take all of the precautions for the safety of our team and you beautiful peeps! We will let you know when we’re back up!”

The Commodore in Dupont Circle closed Thursday after an employee tested positive. “As a precaution we’re closed today to allow staff to get tested,” an Instagram post reads. “The individual who tested positive is asymptomatic and is following all quarantine guidelines.” The bar shared that the individual worked Saturday through Tuesday. The Commodore reopens today.

Ivy and Coney, Lost & Found, Lucky Buns, Bar Charley, Grand Duchess, Mintwood Place, O-Ku, and Commonwealth Cantina also experienced or are experiencing closures this week.

At least one local restaurant is taking a more preventative approach. Restaurateur Erik Bruner Yang is ending dine-in service at Maketto on H Street NE until 2022. “Out of an abundance of caution to our staff and guests, we will be offering to-go only for the rest of the year. If you have a current reservation we will be reaching out directly,” he announced in a tweet. “We will see you in 2022 and can’t wait to see you back in person soon. Be safe.”

City Paper checked in with a few restaurateurs who were more cautious than their peers during the lion’s share of the pandemic. Most are currently putting their heads together to decide how to proceed. Others are wondering if the city will make a move.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has not reinstated any COVID-19 related restrictions this week. D.C. is still under an indoor mask advisory, which is different than a mandate. Neither one is particularly useful or enforceable inside restaurants, where masks can come off for eating and drinking. The Omicron variant is already in the District, and scientists continue to study its transmissibility and severity.

Chef and restaurateur Mike Friedman kept the dining rooms closed at All-Purpose Shaw and The Red Hen until employees could get vaccinated. He’s not ready to make the same leap as Bruner-Yang, but he says staff will be required to wear masks again.

“We’ve read what Erik’s doing and if that works for his model, I think that’s great,” Friedman says. “We’re keeping our finger on the pulse of what’s going on but we’re not in a position right now that we feel it’s necessary to close our doors.”

This story will be updated if more bars and restaurants scale back operations to to-go only.

Updates 12/18:

Pow Pow on H St. NE will only offer online ordering and pick-up through their carry-out window for the remainder of the year.

Hanumanh in Shaw cancelled its noodle pop-up for the remainder of the year, citing COVID-19 concerns.

Nido in Mount Pleasant halts wine tastings and indoor dining “for the foreseeable future.”

Mozzeria on H Street NE will only offer delivery and pick-up for at least the remainder of the year.

Columbia Room and Disco Mary in Shaw are closing Saturday night to evaluate the situation, per Derek Brown. He says they’ll determine their schedule going forward early next week.

The Imperial in Adams Morgan is temporarily closing until Dec. 29 citing rising cases.

Updates 12/19:

Espita in Shaw is closing its dining room and offering Ghostburger takeout and delivery only through Dec. 27.

Bammy’s in Navy Yard is closed through Dec. 22 so all staff can get tested.

Primrose in Brookland is closed Dec. 19 following an exposure.

Boundary Stone in Bloomingdale is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive.

Updates 12/20:

America Ice Company off U Street NW is closed until Dec. 22 following an employee testing positive.

The Crown & Crow in Logan Circle is closed until Dec. 22 citing the “recent spike in COVID cases in the community.”

dLeña in Mount Vernon Triangle is closed through Dec. 27 following three employees testing positive.

The Midlands in Park View is closed through Christmas “out of an abundance of caution.”

OKPB in Mount Pleasant is closing until Dec. 28. “We have chosen to stay home and quarantine and reduce our risk and exposure before visiting our families and loved ones over the coming weekend,” an Instagram post reads.

Public Bar Live and Sauf Haus in Dupont Circle are pausing operations until further notice “out of an abundance of caution.”

Fiola Mare in Georgetown will be closed until Dec. 23 “out of an abundance of caution.”

Rose’s Luxury is closing Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 following an employee testing positive.

ABC Pony will be open for takeout only through Dec. 23. Then they will close for a holiday break until Jan. 4.

Updates 12/21:

Buffalo & Bergen paused operations at its Capitol Hill location and is doing takeout only in Union Market.

The Girl & The Vine in Takoma Park ends indoor dining. Outdoor dining and indoor shopping still available.

Cotton & Reed in NoMa closes its tasting room and offers to-go only this week.

Pie Shop on H Street NE is only offering takeout and shows are on hold until Jan. 6.

The Red Hen in Bloomingdale is closed through Dec. 26.

Updates 12/22:

Bar Chinois downtown is closing until Dec. 27, citing health and safety concerns.

Franklin Hall off 14th Street NW is closing until Dec. 26 “out of an abundance of caution and putting the safety of our staff and guests first.”

Both locations of Right Proper Brewing Company will be closed through Christmas “in the interest of public safety.”

Sister bars Astoria in Dupont Circle and Copycat Co. on H Street NE are switching to takeout until further notice. “Our team members with negative COVID test results will be allowed to return to work, while we wait for the test results, please expect longer wait times.”

Anju on the border of Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan is closing tonight and possibly longer following a possible employee exposure. “Takeout and delivery with the team members that we have been able to test and confirm so far.”