Since the federal government’s partial shutdown began Dec. 22, leaving thousands of federal workers without paychecks, restaurants in the D.C. area have reported a 20 percent drop in business, on average, compared with this time last year, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
Some restaurant owners reported losses of more than 60 percent.
To help stimulate local businesses and support furloughed federal workers, the restaurant association announced Sunday that it has extended Winter Restaurant Week in the Washington area until Jan. 27.
“The promotion is helping to lift spirits as it offers a dining deal to those impacted by the shutdown,” said Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the association, which represents 182 restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia. “The Restaurant Week promotion drives traffic to restaurants who are experiencing a slow-down in business.”
During Restaurant Week — which is planned twice a year — more than 180 restaurants in the Washington region offer discounted dinner, lunch and brunch menus.
According to the association, Restaurant Week began more than 18 years ago after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, one of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history. In the aftermath of the attacks, restaurant owners noticed people were not dining out.
“Over time, Restaurant Week has grown to represent an affordable opportunity for guests to enjoy a great meal while helping to stimulate our local economy,” Hollinger said in a statement. “Now, during the longest federal government shutdown in our nation’s history, restaurants want to continue providing an opportunity for their guests to save, but also to promote dining out.”
Hollinger said that some restaurants will offer special discounts to federal workers.