D.C. Lost At Least 375 Businesses Since Last March. Here’s How Those Closures Have Reshaped The City

Published in DCist, March 11, 2021

When health officials in December 2019 first reported a mysterious, pneumonia-like virus circulating in the city of Wuhan, it was hard to fathom how the outbreak of a new pathogen in China would upend life and commerce in the capital of the United States.

Even now, more than one year after the first reported case of COVID-19 emerged in D.C., coming to terms with the scope of our loss remains a work in progress.

At least 235 brick-and-mortar businesses have closed permanently in D.C. since the first known coronavirus case was reported on March 7, 2020, with 100 more shuttered temporarily, a count by DCist/WAMU found. (The status of another 40 is unknown.)

As of December, more than 36,000 residents were unemployed — a 77% increase over the prior year. Downtown D.C., once an economic engine that contributed nearly 16% of the city’s tax revenue in 2019, is today an effigy of its former self. At night, the bars and restaurants that propelled so much of D.C.’s economic growth seem funereal without scores of intoxicated revelers streaming through the doors and swiping their credit cards.

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