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Did DC Mayor Muriel Bowser order these types of businesses to close to ‘discourage Trump supporters from gathering’?

Brad Sylvester, DCNF

An image shared on Facebook claims Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations to close Jan. 4 to Jan. 6 “to Discourage TRUMP supporters from gathering.”

Verdict: False

While Bowser’s recent executive order did temporarily order restaurants to close indoor dining, it does not mandate the closure of D.C. restaurants altogether or the closure of grocery stores, hotels, gas stations and convenience stores. The order, effective Dec. 23 to Jan. 15, is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Fact Check:

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump are expected to gather in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 to protest against the 2020 presidential election results, according to local news stations. On Jan. 6, Congress is set to meet to count the Electoral College votes and finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, The Associated Press reported.

Viral social media posts suggest that Bowser, the Democratic mayor of D.C., has “orded (sic) all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores to close jan. 4th, 5th and 6th to Discourage TRUMP supporters from gathering in DC.” Some posts go on to urge those attending the demonstrations to bring their own supplies.

Bowser on Dec. 18 issued an executive order to close indoor dining, museums and libraries from Dec. 23. to Jan. 15 to help “flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases,” not to discourage protesters. In D.C., there have been over 29,900 positive COVID-19 cases and nearly 800 deaths from the disease as of Jan. 3, according to data on the district’s coronavirus website.

While one hotel and pub announced they would voluntarily close ahead of Jan. 6, the executive order, which is available online, makes no mention of closing all restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores or gas stations.

Under the order, restaurants are still allowed to offer outdoor dining, carryout and delivery. Grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations are considered essential businesses and have remained open in D.C. A search on Hotels.com also reveals numerous hotels in the D.C. area still taking reservations for the dates mentioned in the Facebook post.

Bowser did ask in a Jan. 3 tweet for residents to stay away from the downtown area on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.

“I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation, and we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” she tweeted.

The D.C. National Guard on Monday released a statement announcing that approximately 340 guardsmen have been activated to assist law enforcement ahead of the week’s anticipated demonstrations. The guardsmen will be activated from Jan. 5 to 7, according to the D.C. National Guard’s statement.

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