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Frequently Asked Questions About COVID Relief Efforts

March 20, 2020
See below for answers to frequently asked questions. If you don't see an answer to your question, email us at
How do I apply for SBA Relief?
Small businesses in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are now able to apply for relief through the Small Business Administration. 
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
DC & Montgomery County, MD & VA: Beer and Wine Delivery and Take Out
DC: Approved wine, beer and spirits for to-go and delivery orders. You MUST REGISTER with ABRA and receive written approval, no exceptions.  Please note: food is required in the to-go or delivery order, and beer, wine and spirits must be in a sealed container. Click here to register on ABRA’s website. Once a form has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation email within minutes. No further action is required and the ABC-licensed restaurant or tavern can commence selling beer, wine, and spirits in closed containers for carry-out and/or delivery with prepared food immediately after receiving the confirmation email.
MD: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that allows for delivery and carry-out sales of alcohol by restaurants, bars, distilleries, and wineries, subject to liquor laws and other conditions imposed by local alcoholic beverage authorities. View the order here.
Montgomery County: All restaurants licensed by the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners may sell sealed containers of beer and wine for off-premises consumption along with a takeout or delivered meal. This permission includes the sale of bottles, cans, growlers, and crowlers for off-premises consumption and does not include the sale of alcoholic drinks in a to-go cup. This permission does NOT include liquor. Businesses may deliver beer and wine to Montgomery County addresses along with a meal using their own staff. State law prohibits the delivery of alcohol by a third party, such as GrubHub or Uber Eats. Click here to apply in Montgomery County.
Virginia: Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has granted on premises licensees who have a wine and beer on or off premises license designation through 4.1-209 to deliver wine and beer pursuant to an electronic order by a customer to that customer seated in a vehicle that is parked in a designated parking area of the retailer’s premise. Or if a licensee holds a delivery permit, they may deliver to other such locations. This directive also authorizes delivery of such products without the necessity of the licensee to obtain a delivery permit from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
DC: Should I officially terminate my employees so they can collect UI?
To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance in DC, employees must be terminated, furloughed without pay, or have had their work hours reduced to result in being partially employed. 
Per DC’s Emergency Legislation, the 1-week wait time to register for UI is eliminated.
For employers, unemployment Benefits will not be charged to the experience rating account. Please do note, DOES is experiencing extremely high registrations so you are encouraged to apply online. 
DC: How do employees apply for Unemployment Insurance?
  • Click here to register for Unemployment Insurance in DC. Please pass this information along to your employees.
  • Click here for more information on the Unemployment Compensation Process. Please pass this information along to your employees.
  • Do not apply for UI in person or over the phone, instead you should do it online.
  • If your employees do not have access to a computer, we encourage you to provide one for them at your restaurant, so they can register online. The UI website is not mobile friendly, so it is recommended that a computer is used.
  • UI is currently set at $444 maximum per week. At the discretion of the City Council, they may revisit increasing the UI funding formula in the coming weeks.  We have been advocating for this increase and hope to see some movement to reflect an increase.
  • DOES is experiencing a high volume of applications, and is increasing employees working on UI, but some applicants have experienced wait times.
  • Click here for a video of DOES Director Unique Morris-Hughes explaining how to file for UI. 
DC: Will furloughed employees qualify for UI benefits?
 Yes, the person should be furloughed without pay and when applying for UI they should say, “laid off due to lack of work.” Click here to visit the RAMW blog for more information. 
DC: Will my UI rate go up in DC because so many employees are applying?
No. The COVID-29 Emergency Legislation addresses this issue, and guarantees Unemployment Benefits will not be charged to the experience rating account. 
VA: Unemployment Insurance
Governor Ralph Northam provided helpful information on Unemployment Insurance that can be shared with employees. Workers who have been totally or partially separated from their job due to Coronavirus, should note that no claim for unemployment insurance may be filed or processed until an actual lay off from employment has occurred, or until there has been an actual reduction in hours.  When filing the claim for unemployment benefits, please be sure to check the reason for separation as Lack of Work/Lay off. If they are filing because of a reduction in hours, they will not receive benefits unless gross earnings are less than weekly benefit amount. Click here to apply in Virginia.
DC: What do I do about my DC sales tax filing due 3/20/20? 
Sales taxes for February and March, normally due March 20 and April 20 respectively, should be filed WITHOUT payment on the regular date. Payment may be deferred until July 20, 2020 without penalty. 
DC: What is the likelihood that DC will consider property tax abatement or delay for business and residents, versus the sales tax deferment? 
Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said that the Mayor’s Office is working with the DC Council on this, but at this point the recommendation is to view what is available right now in terms of grants and SBA loans and to start utilizing those mechanisms of relief until further updates are available. 
DC: Are 1099 workers eligible for Unemployment Insurance in DC?
No. Independent Contractors right now are not eligible for UI but that could change if the President makes a disaster declaration for DC, the DC region or nationwide. That declaration allows US DOL to open up Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to eligible states. The federally funded DUA extends UI to independent contractors. It could somehow be authorized with Congressional action. 
How long can we expect our restaurants to be closed?
In DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued guidelines banning on premise dining at restaurants starting 3/16/20 at 10pm extending through April 1, 2020 at 6am. 
Restaurants and bars are still able to offer meals to go through take out, delivery or curbside service. Read the Mayor's order here
In MD, Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order starting 3/16/20 at 5:00pm. The order does not indicate an end date as of now. Read the Governor’s order here. 
In VA, Governor Ralph Northam issued an order that limits on premise dining to 10 patrons. The order does not list an end date. Read the Governor’s order here. 
DC: ABRA Filing Extensions 
  • Annual License Payments | Extended from March 31, 2020 to April 30, 2020.
  • Alcohol License Expirations | Any alcohol licenses, including ABC Manager Licenses that expire March 16-31, 2020 are now valid through April 30, 2020.
  • Fines | Any fines due between March 16-31, 2020 are now due April 30, 2020.
Where should I go for real time updates from DC, MD or VA?
DC: Paid Leave Law
Currently DC businesses are required to provide sick leave to all employees. You are only required to pay employees out for mandated sick leave, if your handbook states that is your policy. Paid sick leave is not applicable to employees that have already been terminated. Employees begin accruing leave as soon as they start work, but cannot access leave until at least 90 days of employment.
If an employer has
Employees accrue at least
Not to Exceed
100 or more employees
1 hour per 37 hours worked
7 days per calendar year
25 to 99 employees
1 hour per 43 hours worked
5 days per calendar year
Less than 25 employees
1 hour per 87 hours worked
3 days per calendar year
Tipped Employees
1 hour per 43 hours worked
5 days per calendar year
How can I provide RAMW with marketing updates?
RAMW has set up a Restaurant Operations Updates form collecting information about your curbside/take-out/delivery options. Information provided via the form is posted to our running list of information posted to and is also being shared with on our social media platforms to aid in marketing local restaurants.
Are there discussions with landlords to understand where they play into the relief equation for our industry, and for small businesses in general around rent payment deferment without penalties or mortgage suspensions?  
Yes. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said that DC Government is in conversations now with landlords about deferment with rent. 
In VA, Victor Hoskins of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority said this is a priority in Northern Virginia. 
DC: When will the grants passed in the DC Emergency legislation be available and what agency will be administering them?
  • In DC , DMPED shared that relief will be coming in the next couple of day, and registration will likely be open 3/23 or 3/24.
  • Local grant relief will be housed in DMPED in the business development unit.
  • DSLBD will be working with SBA on federal grants.
Are any of these resources for workers around filing for unemployment, or unemployment insurance available in Spanish? 
District of Columbia: 
  • Information on New Claim for UI Benefits Online (Spanish)
  • Filing Continuing Claims (Spanish)
How is the National Restaurant Association working with Congress on overall recovery of our industry and what relief might become available, and when?
  • On National Efforts: The National Restaurant Association is working with the Federal Government on an emergency economic stimulus package worth 1 trillion dollars to include small business and employee support and relief efforts.
  • The focus is on three key aspects/phases: Immediate access to cash, medium/long-term access to credit, and tax relief. They are basing recommendations to Congress on economics and the reality that our industry is uniquely challenged by virtue of our lean finances, reduced traffic due to customer fears, and the unprecedented state and local mandates curtailing our industry.
  • Read the industry’s initial recovery request from the National Restaurant Association to Congress.  Click here to read a copy of our press release and click here to read the letter. The letter requests immediate financial relief on three fronts:
In addition, the plan also calls for Congress to once and for all fix the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) glitch made when the 2017 tax bill was drafted.
What is the thinking here around the piecemeal incremental shut down, which feels more difficult right now than a full on shut down? Why are we dragging this out? 
Mike Whatley, Vice President of State and Local Affairs at the National Restaurant Association said, “The Federal government does not feel a complete shutdown is necessary nationwide at this point and states and cities had to take the lead on what to do in their jurisdictions and they are each deciding what is best depending on the cases and situation in their locale. The reality is that this has been piecemeal everywhere, and restaurants are still allowed to be open in San Francisco for take-out and delivery, even though they are in a lock down.”
DC Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said, “DC is reliant on the CDC and their guidance and decisions are based on science CDC shares with the Department of Health which is why each jurisdiction and state is handling things differently.”
What measures are being put in place, if any, to protect property owners who have closed their businesses during this time and cannot be on-site to monitor in terms of security? 
In DC, DC Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said they are already speaking with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to make sure safety precautions and patrolling are increased. As always, call 911 in emergencies. 
For non-emergency questions and support contact MPD at:
Phone: (202) 727-9099
In VA, Victor Hoskins of FCEDA said, all NOVA police departments are on higher alert at this time. If you are experiencing any issues or have questions, you can contact Victor Hoskins.