WASHINGTON – Sunday’s anti-vaccine-mandate rally at the National Mall has local business owners concerned, especially after posts on social media suggested some attendees plan to enter stores to challenge the District’s mandate. 

“It’s hard enough with regular folks sometimes just coming in not wanting to show their cards,” said Tony Tomelden, owner of The Pug, a local bar on H Street NE.  

Called “Defeat The Mandates: An American Homecoming,” the march is about protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, not the vaccine itself, according to Trevor FitzGibbon, communications consultant for the march. 

“This is about unifying people of all stripes to come together and oppose the idea that forced vaccinations on people isn’t okay,” said FitzGibbon. 

While most businesses aren’t planning to board up or close doors for the day, fear lingers in the air, especially after the January sixth Capitol insurrection. 

“We’re all just vaguely more on edge after one six,” said Tomelden.

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