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Going into Reopening Weekend

May 29, 2020

Today, Friday, May 29th, marks the first stage of reopening across the region.  We want to make sure you are armed with all the information you need so we can safely enter this next phase together. 

As promised, below is more information about how you can register for the use of public and private space for outdoor dining. 

In DC, you can register for public and private space outdoor patios by clicking here.

In Virginia, you can register for a temporary permit for the use of private space, or learn more about use of public and private outdoor spaces in these jurisdictions below: 

Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, City of Fairfax, Prince William County

Loudoun County, Town of Vienna

In Fairfax the ordinance does not require a permit or registration for private space, but it must be worked out with the private property owner. An operator does not need to get a permit if they are currently approved to operate by right. The ordinance states that you can expand to a parking lot as long as you have the permission of the property owner. For situations where people want to erect a tent, that will require fire marshal approval. Click here for the ordinance.

Compliance: In the interest of public health and safety, it is likely that agencies will be out enforcing to make sure businesses and individuals are in compliance with the reopen guidelines across the region.  We want you to succeed during this time as you can begin reopening under these new rules of engagement. It is important that we are all mindful of what we can and cannot do during these stages, as requirements and guidance are out, but also changing regularly.  Visit ReOpen Page on our website for the most up to date information. 

DC Updates

Today, the Mayor’s Office hosted a Teletownhall, where RAMW received answers to many of the frequently asked questions we have received. 

Q&A Recap

  • The DC DOH recommendation is that all guests should wear a mask when not eating or drinking. The restaurant can deny customers service if they refuse to wear a mask. 
  • Many have asked if the employer can require the employee to get tested before starting work. The DC DOH recommendation is that, instead of requiring employees to be tested, employers conduct a health screening questionnaire before someone enters the facility. Temperature checks are not required, and if they are done proper protocol must be followed. 
  • If a customer tests positive, the establishment will be contacted by contact tracers who will provide guidance to the operator. 
  • It is recommended that you use disposable products (utensils, plates, linens, napkins), however if you opt to use reusable they must be cleaned AND disinfected after each use. 

DC DOH UPDATED Protocol For If An Employee Tests Positive:  

  • Contact DC DOH at, you should be prepared to close for 24-48 hours, and DC DOH will provide you with guidance on when you can reopen. 
  • Clean and sanitize entire facility
  • Exclude employee who tested positive and until cleared to return by their healthcare provider and DC Health
  • Exposed employees will need to quarantine for 14-days from the time of exposure. If the employee is tested, and it comes back negative, they should still be prepared to finish quarantine for the full 14-days. 
    • “Exposed” is defined as being within 6 ft of someone for more than 15 minutes. 

Quick note: Once you have deep cleaned and sanitized your facility, and DOH has given you guidance on when to reopen (likely within 24-48 hours), you are able to resume operations with employees who have not been exposed to the employee that tested positive, if capacity allows.  

As previously mentioned, Mayor Bowser is providing a package of personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectants to DC businesses authorized to open. Your local BID and Main Street organizations are facilitating the distribution of these care packages. These should not be the only materials you are relying on, but are meant to provide additional support. You must register ahead of time (click here to register), and can only pick up from your distribution zone (distribution map found here).  

In closing, we are here to help and provide you with resources and support. As you continue to put together and tweak your reopen plans, we encourage you to look at reopening guides and playbooks of colleagues for inspiration and best practices. Click here for ThinkFoodGroup’s Playbook and click here for Farmers Restaurant Group Resource Guide. 

Be sure to be safe, very kind and extra patient this weekend.