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DC Reopening Markers & VA Updates

April 23, 2020

While Mayor Bowser and Governors Hogan and Northam sent a letter to the Trump administration encouraging the continuation of telework for federal employees, we are also beginning to see regional leaders taking into consideration key indicators needed as we approach a phased-in reopening. Today, Mayor Bowser addressed this and we expect Governors Hogan and Northam to share similar information tomorrow.  RAMW is finalizing our industry reopening recommendations, based on your feedback, to provide these leaders with industry input and small business impact.

DC Updates
In a press conference today, Mayor Bowser provided a situational update on when DC can reopen. While no actual dates were provided, important markers were identified that have to be met in order for Phase 1 of reopening to occur. DC’s stay-at-home order remains through 5/15.


  • Consistent downward trend of new cases for 2 weeks
  • Healthcare system must be able to treat everyone that needs it without using Crisis Standards of Care
  • Widespread contact tracing abilities
    • Based on current projections, DC will need a team of 900 contact tracers before moving into Phase 1. Mayor Bowser said that contact tracing is happening now and steps are in motion as DC develops these teams. With the infrastructure they are building to reopen, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    • Increase testing capabilities

Currently, the Mayor’s approach to reopening will be in line with White House guidance which uses a phased approach. The White House plan can be found here. While the Mayor did not explicitly state that guidance for each phase will be identical, the White House plan categorizes restaurants as a large venue and allows them to open in Phase 1, operating under strict physical distancing protocols.

Mayor Bowser created a Reopen DC Advisory Group that consists of twelve committees. One of the committees is focused on restaurants and food retailers and RAMW leadership has a seat on the Committee, which meets this evening. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will advise the Reopen DC Advisory Committee.

Unemployment Insurance Updates: DOES is actively working to increase the rate of payment for Unemployment Insurance and has increased the number of call takers. To date DOES has paid over $90 million in Unemployment.  Mayor Bowser said this week people receiving UI should see the additional $600 from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

Starting on Friday, freelancers, independent contractors, gig workers and self employed individuals can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. To receive real time information when the application is available email

ABRA Updates: On Tuesday, the DC Council adopted emergency legislation that includes a provision that expands the restaurant carry-out and delivery authorization to include nightclubs.

Additionally, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board amended emergency rulemaking to extend beer, wine, and spirits carry-out and delivery privileges to nightclubs. All alcohol sales must be accompanied by at least one (1) prepared food item.  The rulemaking is in effect through the public health emergency. To participate, licensees must register with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

Virginia Updates
The General Assembly adjourned at 10:30PM last night. Votes in the Senate and House to delay the initial increase to the state’s minimum wage were the first of many budget-related steps in response to the devastating economic impact of the pandemic. The initial increase was to take place in January but now will be delayed until May 1, 2021; the later increases will not be affected.

One bill to note is House Bill 1420, which had been amended by the Governor to add an emergency clause. This means that the bill takes effect immediately, as opposed to July 1, 2020. The bill provides that a landlord shall not charge a tenant for a late payment unless it’s outlined in the rental agreement, and that no late charge shall exceed the lesser of ten percent of the rent.

Loudoun Grant: Loudoun County is creating a $1 million fund to respond to the economic calamity. The county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the new “COVID-19 Business Interruption” program, authorizing cash grants of up to $10,000 each for small businesses. Loudoun’s Department of Economic Development will manage the program, using funding transferred over from a pot reserved to help lure companies to the county. Click here for more information.  The fund will open for applications at noon on April 29, 2020, and remain open for 72 hours, closing at noon on May 2, 2020.

We will continue to be in touch with updates. The House is expected to vote on Phase 3.5 of relief this evening, having reached a deal in Congress on Tuesday on additional funding for PPP and other SBA loans. This was a bipartisan effort, so the President will likely sign this into law quickly.  We will update you on the specifics of what is included once the House votes and we have further details.