LGBTQ workers hit hard by coronavirus closings

By Lou Chibbaro Jr.

With LGBTQ people believed to make up a disproportionately high percentage of hospitality industry workers, the coronavirus related shutdown of onsite operations at D.C. area bars, restaurants, and nightclubs and the dramatic drop in people staying at hotels will have an especially severe impact on LGBTQ workers, according to sources familiar with the industry.

An updated emergency directive issued by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday requiring all city restaurants and bars to temporarily end onsite service and convert to carry-out only establishments has resulted in the closing of all of the city’s 13 gay bars for in-house patrons and has led to a major cut back in the operations of two D.C. restaurants with a largely LGBTQ clientele – Annie’s and Duplex Diner.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order similar to Bowser’s calling for the on-site closing of all restaurants, bars, and nightclubs as well as the full closing of other establishments such as gyms, health spas and theaters.

Although Virginia had not put in place an order to close restaurants and bars as of Wednesday, the Arlington gay bar Freddie’s Beach Bar, which also operates as a restaurant, announced it too would convert to a carry-out only establishment. Its owner, gay businessman Freddie Lutz, said he has also temporarily converted his other nearby restaurant Federico’s into a carryout only establishment.

Richard Hack is an award-winning author and journalist. He Is LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings' Vice President of Content and Executive Editor of

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