ALEXANDRIA, VA – Alexandria service industry workers are standing up for their safety. In an unprecedented move, a number of staff members of the local restaurant community have launched a petition to Mayor Justin Wilson to institute a 6:00 PM curfew until after the presidential inauguration—something Erin Kennedy, bartender and manager at O’Shaughnessy’s Pub, at 1324 King Street in Old Town Alexandria, says is essential due to the recent influx of violent extremists who oppose the results of the 2020 election.
“Never in my life have I ever seen something like this. I’ve dragged grown men out of the bar, broken up a knife fight and so much more,” says Kennedy, who’s worked in her current position for three years.
The gravity of the situation cannot be underestimated—service industry workers rely on tips to support themselves, but many have come together in favor of instituting a curfew that will limit their access to a source of income for several days—despite the lost wages, it’s a move they say is a critical response to recent political tumult.
“In my entire career as a bartender, I’ve never seen service workers ask to be closed. Nobody wants that. Right now it’s a matter of safety for both staff and customers. If these people are willing to make that sacrifice, the people in charge need to pay attention,” says Sarah Bryen, who worked in the Old Town restaurant community for over a decade.
An anonymous source who worked as a bartender in Old Town claims to have witnessed an extremist harass an 85-year-old regular, referring to him as a “communist” and telling him to “go back to China.” The fear surrounding Inauguration Day, she says, is palpable.
“You have so many industry workers asking for a curfew because they’re terrified. We don’t want to lose money, [but] we’re asking for what we believe we need to get through the next week without tragic consequences, and no one is listening.”
She continued, “I saw one man ask another if he ‘got in,’ referring to the storming of the Capitol. The last thing we need [in Alexandria] is a bunch of riled up fanatics drinking and causing issues.”
Erin Kennedy has launched a change.org petition, which has garnered almost 300 signatures— many from employees of local bars and restaurants. The support, she says, has still not been enough to grab the ear of local leaders, whom she believes are underestimating the impact events in Washington are having on life in Alexandria.
When reached for comment, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson told The Zebra, “Yes, I am aware of the petition. Our Police have been working with Federal and regional partners for several weeks to prepare for this period. I am confident in their preparations and precautions to ensure that we keep our community safe during this challenging time.”
The proposed curfew would institute a 6:00 PM closure on sit down dining effective immediately until January 21st, the day after the presidential inauguration. Kennedy’s petition can be accessed at https://www.change.org/p/mayor-justin-wilson-curfew-for-alexandria-city-jan-16-21-for-armed-riots-in-dc