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Training Resources, VA Guidelines Enforcement, and DC Updates

July 14, 2020

Each week, the RAMW team aims to provide you with relevant and timely updates as you navigate the current business climate. Today, we are sharing new training options for you, as well as sharing important updates from Virginia and DC. 

You are all operating daily in what is an ever evolving situation, and what is clear is that staying up to date on health and safety measures is a critical step in protecting your employees and customers. ServSafe has been at the forefront of preparing restaurant and foodservice workers to deliver safe dining experiences for their guests during the COVID-19 mandates, and we want to ensure you are in the know about free resources online provided to keep industry workers and the dining public safe.

Since the start of April, ServSafe has made its standard, ANSI accredited, online ServSafe Food Handler training program available free of charge, along with two new training videos, to reinforce safe food handling during the coronavirus outbreak, ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions.

For Food Safety Manager and Alcohol Manager courses, RAMW typically hosts these as in-person training at our office. While we are not able to offer that option in person at this time, we are excited to offer your teams the courses and exams for the required certifications online through ServSafe. 

NEW ServSafe Food Safety Manager Online Exam + Online Proctoring: ServSafe has introduced an online exam + online proctoring option for the Food Manager exam and now also offers a bundled online course + online exam + online proctoring option.  Both are offered at introductory rates of $74 and $134 respectively through July 31. If your certification has expired or is coming close, we encourage you to take advantage of the discounted rate. 

ServSafe Alcohol Manager Online: The online course with primary exam is $30; the exam can be taken without a proctor and is accepted by local jurisdictions to meet the requirement for licensing. 

Now is the time to make sure all of your certifications are current, and your staff is fully trained in all relevant food, alcohol, health and safety areas. Visit to purchase a course, exam, or for the free courses and to learn more about these offers.

Today In Virginia, Governor Northam addressed the increase of COVID-19 cases across the state, and warned that the state will begin to more aggressively enforce guidelines such as wearing a mask or social distancing. While our operators are operating within the guidelines and are going above and beyond to protect employees and diners, some other businesses may not be, and encouraging diners to adhere to guidelines can be challenging at times. This increase of enforcement will happen across the state but will focus in Hampton Roads, which has a positivity rate of 10.1% (in contrast Northern Virginia has a positivity rate of 6.7%). The enforcement is geared towards businesses and individuals. What does this increase of enforcement mean for restaurants and businesses?

  • Unannounced inspections of establishments will take place from ABC, VDH and other licensing agencies to ensure compliance with guidelines for businesses and customers
  • In the cases of egregious violations, licenses could be suspended
  • Businesses are able to and should deny people service if they are not wearing a mask or if they refuse to wear a mask
  • We encourage you to utilize additional signage that instructs customers to wear masks at all times when they are not eating or drinking, and to social distance
  • There will likely be an earlier cut off for alcohol sales at restaurants. This will be outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order, and at the time of hitting send it has yet to be released. We will share information once it’s available. 

Governor Northam warned that this increase of enforcement is a starting place and he could revisit reducing the capacity of events or businesses if case numbers do not decrease. 

In DC, coming off of last week’s Legislative Session, while there was some relief for businesses, the Council also voted to preliminarily increase taxes on DC businesses and residents – including a new 3% advertising sales tax, the elimination of a tax break for high technology companies, and an increase in the estate tax.  Our partners at the Federal City Council have put together an easy campaign to seek a roll back or reverse these efforts and we need your help! Please reach out to the Council by clicking here. 

Also in DC, we have received many questions about when the current rules on expanded outdoor cafes expire. 

  • If you are using private space, you only need approval from ABRA and that extension is in place through October 25th. 
  • If you are using public space, you need approval from DDOT and ABRA. Currently, DDOT’s expanded outdoor use rules are in place through the Mayor’s Emergency, which is set to expire on July 24th. However, the Council gave the Mayor authority to extend the Emergency until October 9th, which we fully anticipate happening. We will keep you posted as to when that extension is finalized. 

In closing, if you haven’t already, please fill out your census. It will only take 3 minutes.