From COVID 19 to pneumonia: that seems the likely outcome if Mayor Muriel Bowser’s $4 million “scientific” plan for dining out in the District in winter is adopted.

Here is what Mayor Bowser has in mind for the hard-hit restaurant business:

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced that beginning Monday city restaurants can apply for $6,000 grants from the city’s Office of Nightlife and Culture to help them winterize the outdoor spaces they’re using right now.

Some restaurant customers wonder if enclosing tent spaces to hold in heat might defeat the purpose of open-air dining.

Restaurants would be expected to put up tents and then heat them.

But there is a question that the Mayor apparently hasn’t asked herself: How is this different from regular, indoor dining at restaurants (other than, you know, the pneumonia factor)?

Many people, however, are pondering that question:

Some restaurant customers wonder if enclosing tent spaces to hold in heat might defeat the purpose of open-air dining.

“If you put up plastic walls, you might as well be inside,” said Elaine Steppa who was seated under a tent in the parking lot outside a Rockville restaurant.

I can see how dining in a stuffy, heated tent might be fun. Or horrible. Instapundit called attention to this blog on Mayor Bowser’s proposals by Victory Girls:

That’s her plan? Tents? With heaters of some kind? The science here is AMAZING! DC restaurants have been restricted to 50% capacity. And instead of ramping up to 75% capacity as Maryland did in the last few days, Bowser comes up with tents as the solution. TENTS. 

Let’s look at the science shall we? In the winter, one isn’t going to want to sit in a tent with the sides tied up to let cold fresh air through. Nope, people will want the sides down, the tent door closed, and heaters going. 

Oh wait… doesn’t that sound like INDOOR DINING??! 

Why yes, yes it does. But I guess being in a tent and eating food isn’t as dangerous as being inside a building and eating food. It’s all so very scientific or something. 

And how about those heaters? What kind of heaters will work best? Are we talking multiple stand up gas heaters? The overhead propane heaters? The choices are endless. Except for the fact that they will be futile during blizzards or major cold snaps.

. . .

A few years ago my husband and I were in the DC area for meetings. Remember the Polar Vortex in mid-November 2014? Now we are used to cold weather given we grew up in WY and are living in the Rocky Mountain Region. However, we hadn’t planned for daytime temps below zero, so had to do a quick bit of shopping for glove liners, extra socks, and long underwear. 

On to the dining experience! You order wine, hope it doesn’t arrive at the table resembling slush. You order a hot appetizer. Will it make it to the table before freezing? How about your entrees? How fast will you have to eat before your food turns cold? In fact, will you be able to eat, drink, and converse with your friends while your teeth are chattering 900 miles an hour?

Many DC restaurants that people have poured their hearts, hard work and life savings will never come back. This plan won’t help. Mighten it be better to allow, say, 75 percent capacity inside? People are, after all, capable of taking into consideration precautions of a particular restaurant and deciding whether to go to or not.

But then the government wouldn’t be able to tell us what to do or make businesses dependent on its largess.