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stated on January 1, 2021 in a Facebook post:
Says Mayor Muriel Bowser “ordered all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores to close Jan. 4, 5 and 6 to discourage Trump supporters from gathering in D.C.”
true false
Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 5, 2021

No, D.C. hasn’t closed hotels, grocery stores and more to foil protests

If Your Time is short

  • Washington, D.C. restaurants among other establishments are operating under some restrictions in response to the coronavirus. 
  • At least one hotel has closed voluntarily Jan. 4-6 but not because the city’s mayor ordered it to shut down.

As supporters of President Donald Trump descend on Washington D.C. to protest Congress officially certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, misinformation is spreading on social media about the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser.

"She (has) ordered all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores to close Jan. 4th, 5th and 6th to discourage TRUMP supporters from gathering in D.C.," one Facebook post says. "For all the Patriots heading to D.C. bring EXTRA food, water, blankets, supplies, and have a plan where to sleep." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Bowser has used her executive powers to curb some activities in the city, but she took that action most recently on Dec. 18 in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases, not Trump supporters protesting in the capital city. 

The order advises residents to limit their activities to essential activities and travel, including work, school, childcare, government services, medical needs, food, supplies and exercise.

It closed indoor restaurant dining, museums, and libraries. It also requires employees at non-essential businesses to telework except for staff members who need to work in person to "support minimum business operations." 

Outdoor dining at restaurants, take-out and delivery services are still permitted, and library patrons can still pick up and drop off books. 

The order doesn’t mention hotels, grocery stores, gas stations, or convenience stores. Bowser previously ordered that all groceries, food banks, convenience stores, outdoor markets and other places where people buy food must enforce physical distancing guidelines. 

Featured Fact-check

At least one hotel has closed voluntarily Jan. 4-6.

Hotel Harrington, which Daily Beast reporter Will Sommmer described as a "popular spot for Proud Boys," announced on Dec. 28 that it would not be accommodating guests except for its long-term residents during that time period. 

"While we cannot control what happens outside of the hotel, we are taking additional steps to protect the safety of our visitors, guests and employees," the hotel said in a statement. 

Bowser has directed the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to help coordinate a response to demonstrations in D.C..

In a statement issued on Jan. 3, Bowser asked Washington residents "to stay out of the downtown area" on those dates and "not engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation."

She said officials would "do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful."

Many restaurants and office buildings in downtown D.C. have boarded up, "just as they were for demonstrations in the summer regarding racial justice and, more recently, the presidential election," USA Today reported.

We rate this Facebook post False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Jan. 1, 2020

The Washington Post, Pro-Trump forums erupt with violent threats ahead of Wednesday’s rally against the 2020 election, Jan. 5, 2021

Mayor’s order 2020-127, Dec. 18, 2020

Will Sommer tweet, Dec. 28, 2020

Government of the District of Columbia, Mayor Bowser continues preparation for upcoming First Amendment demonstrations, Jan. 3, 2021

USA Today, ‘Wild’ protests: Police brace for pro-Trump rallies when Congress meets Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s win, Jan. 4, 2021

NBC Washington, DC orders all grocery stores, outdoor markets to enforce social distancing, April 8, 2020

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No, D.C. hasn’t closed hotels, grocery stores and more to foil protests

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