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New Reopening Updates in DC, VA, and MD 5/13

May 14, 2020

Dear Operator, 

Wednesday was a busy day in terms of reopening updates throughout the region. Leaders across Metropolitan Washington are taking a similar approach to reopening that is rooted in metrics to ensure there is not an unnecessary surge in cases once reopening phases begin. 

In DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the Stay at Home Order until Monday, June 8th. The Stay at Home Order was originally set to expire on Friday 5/15. This means restaurants are still only permitted to offer take out and delivery, and residents should only leave their house for essential tasks. As a reminder, restaurant employees are considered essential employees. Mayor Bowser noted that she has the ability to revise the Stay at Home Order, if reopening metrics are met in an earlier timeline. Right now in the District there has been a decrease in cases for four days. One of the markers required for reopening is seeing a downward trend in cases for 14-days. 

Click here for Mayor Bowser’s situational update. Click here for the Order. 

An extension was expected as the Mayor has indicated throughout reopening that the District intended to be in line with what surrounding regional leaders are doing in terms of reopening.  Today was the deadline for the Reopen DC Committee Chairs to submit recommendations to the Mayor for reopening the City. The Mayor will now review Committee recommendations to finalize the DC’s Reopening Guidance for Phase One. 

The Mayor also signed the Council’s Emergency Legislation into law on 5/13, which provides for a 15% cap on third party delivery service fees. The cap is in effect now through the end of the Public Emergency, which has been extended until June 8th. There are conversations to extend this relief beyond that date.  More to come on that.  

In Maryland, Governor Hogan announced that at 5pm this Friday, May 15th Maryland will enter Stage One of reopening. The Stay at Home Order will be changed to a Safer at Home Order. Stage One does not include any changes for restaurants from current operational guidelines, which means restaurants can only operate with take out and delivery, and no on premise dining is permitted. The governor says that as the state cautiously moves forward, not all counties are in the same situation. Prince George's County and Montgomery County have indicated they are not ready to move into Stage One.  Governor Hogan is providing for a community-based approach that allows counties to make their own decisions on the timing of Stage One reopenings. At this time, we do not have further guidance from County Executives Alsobrooks and Elrich, however based on what they have shared with the press, it is unlikely Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties will enter Stage One on Friday. We will keep you posted once we have more information.  Click here for the full Order. 

In Virginia, Governor Northam covered Tuesday's Executive Order, which orders specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay entering Phase One of reopening until May 28th. Executive Order Sixty-Two requires the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and the towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna (Northern Virginia Region) to remain in Phase Zero, as requested by officials in those localities, which mean businesses must continue with current status of operations. 

Northam was joined on 5/13 by the Chairs and Mayors of these local jurisdictions during the press conference to address Northern Virginia’s united delayed approach to entering Phase One, which is rooted in metrics and data for the region. Currently, none of the five required markers that must be met before entering Phase One have been achieved in Northern Virginia.  Click here for the Executive Order.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority is creating an accelerated process for receiving requests for outside dining areas, as reopening guidelines permit 50% capacity for  outdoor dining only for on-premise. Any outside dining areas previously approved by the Authority remain in effect and are not subject to this expedited process and required listed conditions. The Authority will allow the temporary expansion of outside dining rooms or areas only until the expiration of EO 61 and EO 62 under certain conditions. Click here for the full list of conditions. Licensees located in Northern Virginia shall become eligible for this process on May 29, 2020. 

In National relief, House Democrats unveiled their “Phase Four” response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dubbed the “HEROES Act,” the measure has provisions that are very important to our industry (including our approach to improving the PPP program).  Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the bill to the House floor this Friday for a vote.  It is assumed it will pass along largely party lines. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has endorsed the PPP changes and will seek to integrate them into anything moving in the Senate.  

Click here for a full breakdown of the "HEROES Act” and read below for a breakdown of PPP fixes. 

  • Extends “covered period” end date from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • For rehires, the exemption is extended from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • Loan forgiveness reductions will be “held harmless” (provided) for some employers who can demonstrate an inability to rehire or find “similarly qualified” employees before December 31, 2020.
  • Some businesses receiving PPP loan forgiveness will be able to defer payment of payroll taxes.
  • $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. (Additional detail was not included in the HEROES Act.)

We will share more up to date information with you about Congressional relief measures as they become available. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, I urge you to read the National Restaurant Association’s full breakdown here, and direct any questions to

The SBA, just added Item #46 to its PPP FAQ, indicating that, "Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith."

Matt Hetrick of Harmony Group believes that PPP FAQ #46 provides clear guidance for any restaurant with loans of under $2,000,000 in aggregate who were on the fence with the question of whether or not they needed to return their PPP loans due to uncertainty about whether the certifications they made in taking the loans were in good faith.

Finally, the national industry leaders on food safety protocol, ServSafe, have a new course that provides best practices for employees of a restaurant preparing to reopen a dining room following a state shutdown including best practices for safety, hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing. The Reopening Guidance video is free of charge, available in English and Spanish, and can be viewed on-demand at  

We will be in touch with additional updates and hopeful relief as we move through the week. 

Stay safe, kind and hopeful.