DC Takes Precautions Ahead of ‘Unite the Right 2’ Rally Sunday
Restaurants in downtown Washington, DC, are taking precautions for the “Unite the Right 2” White supremacist rally planned for Sunday, with some planning to close for the weekend and others educating their staffs on handling difficult customers.
After last year’s event in Charlottesville, Virginia, ended up in violence that resulted in the death of 1 counter-protester, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington is working with restaurants to help them know how to respond legally to situations.
The Founding Farmers restaurant owner told the website that his workers are “nervous” and afraid to use public transportation. He’s treating the rally like a weather emergency, and letting workers stay home if they wish. He also plans to refuse service to any person harassing employees or wearing White nationalist or Nazi symbols or attire.
At Equinox, also near the White House, owners Ellen Kassoff Gray and chef Todd Gray say they have never closed during protests, but expect business to suffer this weekend.
“I’ll proudly stay open and serve those who are respectful and kind,” Kassoff Gray said. “But being a Jewish restaurant owner and having a pro-Nazi group come to town, would I refuse service? Yes, I would.”
Alan Popovsky, who owns several restaurants with President themes in DC, said he plans to serve Sunday brunch at his restaurant, Lincoln, and then close for dinner, after his staff said they were worried about their safety.
A state of emergency was declared by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city Wednesday ahead of the 1-year anni of a violent White nationalist rally that left 1 person dead and dozens of others injured.
Officials said the declaration would streamline state and local operations this weekend while also allocating $2 million in state funds. The declaration authorizes the Virginia National Guard to assist in security efforts.
Law enforcement officials said there will be a heavy police presence meant to deter any violence.