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Anti-vaccine mandate rally participants staying in Arlington

The COVID-19 vaccine (via Arlington County/YouTube)

A group will be protesting vaccine mandates in D.C. later this month but staying in Arlington — due to forthcoming vaccine mandates in D.C.

Defeat the Mandates, D.C. is planning a rally in the District on Sunday, Jan. 23. The group describes the rally on the National Mall as a bipartisan event that will have a “wide range of featured guests” including “recording artists, prominent doctors, journalists, pro athletes, actors and premier thought leaders.” It will feature “a series of inspiring ‘TED talks’ and musical performances.”

“Stop the mass firings. Stop segregating by vaccination status. Stop calling Americans ‘unpatriotic’ for making a personal medical choice,” says the recently-created group’s website.

But the group encountered a problem in organizing the rally: in late December D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that proof of coronavirus vaccinations will be required to enter many District businesses, including restaurants, starting in mid-January.

That prompted a shift to Arlington.

“Due to the upcoming Vaccine Mandate put in place by the Mayor of DC, we have moved all of our hotel blocks to Arlington, VA,” the rally’s website says. “We wanted to supply hotel blocks near DC so that all of our guests, regardless of vaccination status are welcome. The new mandate goes into effect on 1/15/22 and requires proof of vaccination or negative covid test to enter all restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor meeting spaces.”

The website lists hotel packages at two hotels in the Crystal City area: the Renaissance Arlington Capital View and the Embassy Suites Crystal City.

So far the group has not released a list of speakers or a count of how many people are expected to attend, though it has attracted a fair amount of chatter on social media and forums like Reddit.

Of course, not everyone thinks a mass gathering of unvaccinated individuals during a Covid wave is a good idea.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” said one Twitter user.

About 92% of Arlington’s adult population has received at least one vaccine done, a likely contributor to the low rate of Covid hospitalizations during the current record-breaking wave.

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(This Community Post was written by Signature Theatre and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts.)

Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.

“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.

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