Club reopens for dining, drinking as pandemic rules ease

The Reliable SourceNational Press Club members are now permitted to eat and drink in the Club, as social distancing restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic continue to ease.

On Tuesday, June 23, the Club reopened the Reliable Source under Phase 2 of pandemic rules issued by the District of Columbia government last week.

Club members and guests may have breakfast, lunch and dinner and order drinks at tables in the Reliable Source. The number of tables has been reduced. The restaurant also is continuing to offer a takeout menu, which includes cocktails in Mason Jars.

Any member wishing to come to the Club to work, eat, or drink in the Reliable Source must make a reservation to visit the Club. Members should not come to the Club until their reservation has been confirmed.

"As we continue our slow walk back to normalcy, on behalf of the Board of Governors and our officers, I extend heartfelt thanks for everyone's understanding of - and support for - the Club during this unprecedented time,” said Club President Michael Freedman. “We can only hope to repay the goodwill you've shown over the past three months in supporting the Club in every way. You have been there for us and we will be there for you as we ramp up."  

The latest changes revive more of the in-person services the Club suspended on March 16 and first began to restore on June 9 during Phase I of the loosening of pandemic restrictions.

“All these are huge developments in the life of the Club and bring us so much closer to normal than we were in Phase I,” said Club Executive Director Bill McCarren.

Here are some house rules for the Reliable Source during Phase 2:

No seating (or standing) is permitted at the bar.

Menus are printed on paper and disposable (for one-time use) or scanned to mobile phones with a QR code.

Disposable dishes and utensils will be offered and encouraged for use.

Masks should be in place until meals are served and should be restored when meals are finished.

The Fourth Estate restaurant, gym and library remain closed and will reopen later, McCarren said. The Club will continue to limit to 30 the number of members who can visit the Club at any given time but could increase capacity soon.

McCarren outlined some of the operations that have not yet been restored but that will slowly return:

Coffee breaks. These are still complicated with social distancing rules, but the Club will try to manage to get these up and running when enough people visit the Club.

Happy Hour food. The Club will institute happy hour pricing but not offer cheese and fruit until it determines demand through reservations.

Taco Night. The Club is not yet ready to reinstitute Taco Night. It is working out a way to bring it back through a system in which one waiter attends the taco bar and serves to other waiters who bring the tacos to tables. The coronavirus is crimping the usual taco buffet for now.