Washington, D.C. can be counted among the blue cities that had some of the most stringent Covid restrictions. Despite their draconian measures, D.C. had the highest risk of Covid transmission in the entire country at the end of last year. There was surprisingly little pushback from the residents of the district against the mandates, but a few dissenters stood out.
Eric Flannery, owner of the Big Board bar, was defiant in the face of restrictions. Flannery stayed open throughout the pandemic, and ultimately lost his liquor license, which was taken away in January 2022 by the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
Many people were upset about the development, especially given Mayor Bowser’s “rules for thee but not for me” public relations mistakes. In August 2021, the mayor was criticized for not wearing a mask at an indoor wedding reception only days after admonishing residents of the mandate’s necessity. The political winds in D.C. have shifted, however.
Suddenly it looks like holdouts like Flannery were in the right camp.
The DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration has surprisingly reinstated the Big Board’s liquor license, and it has reopened. The backtracking is part of a larger campaign where the mayor has lifted practically all restrictions, including the vaccine mandate.
This came as a surprise to some, but not those paying attention to the polls. The mandates are polling poorly and Democrats are scrambling, as it looks like the party is going to experience generational losses in the upcoming midterm elections.
The war in Ukraine is dominating the news cycle. Mercifully, the last holdouts like Mayor Bowser are waiving the white flag on the mandates and giving their constituents the choice of how to mitigate the risk of Covid.
Freedom-loving people like Flannery are back in business, but they have some work to do. They bore a huge cost for standing up for their principles. But they’re back in business now.