I keep catching myself making loose plans “for when we’re vaccinated,” a nebulous milestone that looks hazier and hazier with every passing administrative failure. When we’re vaccinated, we’ll go dancing. When we’re vaccinated, we’ll go sit inside that cozy Thai spot. Meanwhile, the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed project was projected to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the 2020, but the reality was closer to 2 million. New York Magazine’s Intelligencer reports that, at this rate, achieving sufficient vaccination to reach herd immunity in the U.S. will take about seven years. But Washington, D.C. appears to be vaccinating one overlooked community much sooner than anticipated: restaurant workers, who now have a target vaccination eligibility date of February 1.
D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that restaurant workers have been deemed essential workers prioritized for vaccination, according to Grub Street. As reported by the Washington City Paper’s Laura Hayes, those workers have a target vaccination eligibility date of February 1.
It’s heartening news, especially as restaurant workers are expected to show up to interact with frequently unmasked members of the public with very little recognition or federal support. Still, some restaurant workers see the move as little consolation after enduring a brutal year. “Yes, I will feel a slight weight off my shoulders, but it doesn’t change the last nine months, the lack of support for the industry, and the abuse toward service workers,” one D.C. bartender told Grub Street. “It feels like a consolation prize after failing for a year. That’s depressing, but that is where I’m at.”