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Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The days leading up to and including Inauguration Day typically generate $31.4 million in additional sales for D.C. businesses — but not this year.

Why it matters: Washington's economy is already suffering from pandemic-induced closures, and could very much use the revelry and tourist dollars that Inauguration Day brings — instead of the large bills that will pile up if there's further mayhem or if visitors continue to stay away.

The Old Ebbitt Grill, which sits along the inaugural parade route, normally sees a “financial windfall” from renting out the restaurant for a private party and welcoming post-inaugural ball guests, David Moran, director of operations for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, tells Axios.

  • This year it will be closed on Inauguration Day for what’s believed to be the first time.
  • A plan to continue with takeout and delivery quickly became impossible due to security fencing and barricades cutting off access to the restaurant.
  • Sister restaurant The Hamilton also shut down last week, representing a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars between the two.

What they’re saying: “I am pretty used to, every four years, doing interviews,” Moran said. “Not this kind of story."

  • "It’s usually about how busy we are and how ... the Ebbitt is part of the culture of the inauguration — and here we are now talking about the exact opposite.”
  • “The closest thing we’ve seen to something like this is 9/11.”

Of note: Sunnyside Restaurant Group temporarily closed two of its Capitol Hill restaurants — Good Stuff Eatery and Santa Rosa Taqueria — last month because they were losing money.

  • During President Trump’s inauguration, Sunnyside's restaurants saw 800-1,200 customers a day; this week that number is around 120.
  • One Sunnyside restaurant — We, The Pizza — remains open, but is doing 55% of the business it did pre-COVID, deputy Sunnyside CEO Micheline Mendelsohn tells Axios.

Plus: While hotel occupancy was at 95.2% during the last inauguration, Destination D.C. expects lower rates this year.

But, but, but: Some hotels are still busy.

  • The Willard InterContinental, blocks from the White House, is nearly 90% occupied, largely due to bookings from military and law enforcement agencies.
  • Even, so, “businesses all throughout the city, including our own, are not expecting to generate the same revenue as years past,” said Janet Scanlon, senior marketing manager for the Willard.

Go deeper

Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden was sworn in just before noon on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, in an inauguration ceremony unlike any other.

Why it matters: The 78-year-old Democrat assumes the presidency at a fraught moment for the country, which remains polarized and in the grips of a coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.