You are here

Regional Operational Updates and PPP Forgiveness

June 23, 2020

It’s a new week and now our entire region is in Phase 2, which means restaurants have the ability to operate with indoor dining at 50% capacity. For those of you who navigated reopening indoors over the past few days, or past week depending on location, we hope you are easing into this gradual return to service. We are here to support you during this time as we know completely reconfiguring your operations is very challenging.

In Virginia, Governor Northam announced Virginia will move into Phase Three on Wednesday, July 1st. At this time, the Governor indicated that all of Virginia, including Northern Virginia, will move forward to Phase Three together, unless County Executives or Mayors in Northern Virginia decide differently.  We will keep you posted if there are any changes to the reopening timeline in our region. Phase Three lifts capacity limits for restaurants but still requires 6 feet between seated parties. Click here for Phase Three Guidelines. We will share the official Order once it is available.

  • Below is a quick recap of the guidance, but we encourage you to read the guidance in full as it provides important information. 
  • Buffets may be open for self-service, with continuous monitoring by trained staff required at food lines, and serving utensils must be changed hourly during peak meal times. 
  • All parties, whether seated together or across multiple tables, must be limited to 250 patrons or less.
  • Employees working in customer dining and service areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth

In Thursday’s press conference Governor Northam will provide additional information on economic recovery efforts and the new Economic Resilience and Recovery Program through Go Virginia. We will share additional relevant information as it becomes available. 

In DC, we have received a few questions regarding the logistics of Phase 2, and would like to answer those to start. We have received inquiries about live music, and currently while it is not permitted by ABRA, we expect the Mayor’s office to offer more clarity on this issue, as live music can be an important component for your business. We will share more information as it is available and hope to have answers by Thursday of this week.  

We have also received a number of questions regarding bar seating.  To clarify, you are allowed to seat people at the bar, however, bar areas where a bartender is present must remain closed to patrons for seating and standing.  The intention of allowing seating at a bar during Phase 2 was to provide additional seating space for dining patrons.   

If you or your employees need to utilize the bar to prepare and service drinks for dining patrons you cannot seat people at the bar counter. Establishments with multiple bar areas must designate each bar area as either for staff use for bartending or for patron seating. 

No standing is permitted at the bar area.

Finally, we have received many questions regarding private events in DC. Gatherings of no more than 50 people are allowed as long as it is 50% or less of your occupancy limit, and social distancing measures must be in place with no more than 6 people seated at a table. There cannot be a standing component to the event, and all guests must be seated. 

For ABC licensees, ABRA is hosting a webinar on June 30th to discuss Phase Two guidance and will be available to answer your questions. Click here to register and click here for the deck from today's webinar.

And, we previously shared a restaurant pledge with you that you can hang in your establishments to serve as a reciprocated promise from you as an operator and from your guest to you if they choose to dine on premise.  We now have that same signage co-branded with the Mayor’s office that can act as a promise between the customer and the restaurant. This sign, which we encourage you to hang in a visible place, can help empower you in situations where you find customers are not fully abiding by Phase Two requirements. Click here for the pledge.  

PPP loan forgiveness - If you are seeking PPP loan forgiveness for employees who chose not to return to work, you must notify your local unemployment insurance office within 30 days of an individual rejecting the offer of employment or reemployment. 

  • In Virginia, you should file refusal to work information with the Virginia Employment Commission, and can do so by clicking here. The form asks for information about the employee as well as information about how and when the job offer was made.
  • In DC, you should email refusals of suitable work to DOES’s Non-Separations Unit, (Donald Andrews You must provide DOES with the following information 
    • A copy of the bona fide offer of work that was sent to the employee. The offer must be in writing and include the following:
      • Was the work suitable: Does the employee have the skills, training, experience, and capabilities to perform the work? Are the wages, hours or other conditions of the work offered substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the locality; is the position vacant due directly to a strike, lockout or other labor dispute?
      • The specifics of the job
      • How the employee was contacted  (preferably in writing)

As always please reach out to us at if you have any questions, we are here to help. 

Be safe. Be kind.