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ABRA Releases Rules for Phase Two

June 19, 2020

Following the Mayor’s announcement earlier today on Phase Two, please find The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) rulemaking regarding Phase Two of Reopening which permits indoor dining at 50% capacity.  If you have not already reviewed the Mayor’s Order for Phase Two and additional guidance provided by DOH, I recommend you do so. Click here for the Mayor’s Order. Click here for the DC DOH Guidance document. 

ABRA’s Emergency Rulemaking 

Below is a brief summary of what was included in ABRA’s rulemaking which provides additional requirements for how ABC licensed businesses can operate in Phase Two. The rules include: 

  • Indoor dining occupancy must be limited to 50 percent of the lowest occupancy load or seating capacity on the certificate of occupancy. Staff and outdoor seating excluded. There is no percentage maximum for outdoor dining.
  • The selling and onsite consumption of alcohol and operating hours are limited to 8:00 a.m. to midnight, daily.
  • Guests may be seated at bars. Bartenders may not staff or utilize bars where guests are seated and these seats must be treated as table seating. Parties must be at least six (6) feet apart from one another. No standing at bars is allowed.
  • Communal tables may be used if parties are seated at least six (6) feet apart from one another and divisions are clearly marked.
  • ABC licensees are required to implement a reservation system to mitigate concentrated crowding. Reservations may be done online, by phone, or on-site—or a combination of all three.
  • Contact information for at least one (1) person of each party should be collected to assist with contact tracing by DC Health as needed.
  • Licensees must offer a food menu at all times containing at least three (3) prepared food items and require the purchase of at least one (1) item per table. Licensees may partner with food operators. Self-service buffets and “BYOB” are prohibited.
  • Background and recorded music may be played at a conversational level. Live music and entertainment is prohibited.
  • Activities that require patrons to be in close proximity to one another such as dancing and darts are prohibited.
  • Parties waiting to be seated indoors must wait outside the establishment and stay at least six (6) feet from other parties.

Click here for ABRA’s rulemaking, which you should review in full.

ABRA will host virtual Phase Two Information sessions for ABC licensees on Tuesday, June 23 and Tuesday, June 30 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Participants will be able to ask specific questions following a short presentation. Registration is required.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at

Be safe. Be kind.