Those who have brazenly passed the time on Sundays by doing the hustle, the bump and the bus-stop at their favorite watering spot in Fairfax County are now being warned by county police: no more dancing on Sundays. It's illegal.
As part of the campaign, two policeman walked into the younge at Tysons Corner's Ramada Inn last Sunday night, ordered about 100 people to stop dancing and issued a court summons to the motel John M. Christenbury, one of the patrons, said that many of the dancers were disgruntled, but that "a lot of people ordered another drink and grabbed the bar for support."
"It's a little out of step with the times times," Lenny Stark Ramada's district manager, complained yesterday.
He was referring to the county's ordinance dating from 1954, before there were bars in Virginia, which states that places licensed for dancing must close at 1 a.m. every night and may not be open on Sundays at all.
Meanwhile, the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's regulations, which became effective in 1968 when Virginia got its first bars, allows drinks to be served every night of the week, Sundays included, up to 2 a.m. This means that for the last hour six nights a week and all day Sunday, it's drink but no dance at Fairfax County bars.
"I think it's an infringement on people's privacy telling them they can't dance," said Christenbury. I don't know what the county is trying to do. It's really humorous. Will they tell us we must go to bed at 8:30 or 9 o'clock next?"
Fairfax County police denied they are cracking down on dancing. "It's not high on my priority list," said McLean district Capt. Ronald D. Watts. "We haven't declared war on it or anything like that. But we were made aware dancing was taking place on Sundays and we have to enforce the laws."
Watts said he sent his men around to different establishments in his district to inform bar managers of the ordinance. The front desk manager at the Holiday Inn at Tysons said his motel was warned and Stark concedes that country police visited Ramada's lounge on a previous occasion to stop the dancing, but issued no summonses.
But last Sunday police issued a summons to Ramada's manager on duty for the alleged dancing violation. If found guilty, Ramada Inn faces up to a $500 fine.
Both the innkeepers and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce said they will urge the Fairfax County supervisors to change the no-dancing on-Sundays law.
Stark has put up a sign at Ramada's lounge advising his customers that the police have begun to enforce an "archaic blue law" and asking them to comply with the restriction. The sign also urges those who are residents in the county to write to their supervisors. "We want to change this law through legal channels," Stark said.
Many of the customers at Ramada last Sunday were angry, Stark said, and left right after the dancing was halted.
To those who stayed, however, the band's singer announced that they would go on playing music and she invited those who remained "to tap their feet."