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In Virginia, Governor Northam announced today that Northern Virginia will enter Phase Two on Friday. The two notable changes in Phase 2 are: INDOOR DINING IS ALLOWED at 50% capacity while still maintaining a minimum of six feet of physical distancing between all individuals, and no bar seating or congregating.  All dining parties, whether seated together or across multiple tables, must be limited to 50 patrons or less.  Social Gatherings: Limit the occupancy of spaces to ensure that six feet of physical distance can be maintained between all organizers, staff, volunteers,...
Over the weekend in DC, and regionwide, so many made their voices heard and came out to fill the streets with peaceful and powerful messages and demonstrations to demand change to end systemic racism and inequity in our country, our cities, and our neighborhoods. True to form, so many of you who are always so involved in your community, showed up and were standing and marching in solidarity with fellow protestors, or found your own ways to support, feed, hydrate, and provide needed shelter at times to demonstrators. We are listening and learning, and we are committed to looking inward and to...
The Rosslyn BID launched its Rosslyn Ready initiative to support and organize the Rosslyn community and businesses in promoting proper safety measures for welcoming people back into the neighborhood. As part of Rosslyn Ready, the BID launched the "Ready for Reentry" program to help businesses prepare for a safe reentry. Specifically for restaurants, the Rosslyn BID has partnered with industry experts to produce resources with vital information for reopening: Streetsense to offer restaurants information related to capital management, operational...
As you may have likely seen, Mayor Bowser took bold steps today and commissioned a mural on 16th Street that says “Black Lives Matter” and named the promenade in front of the White House at 16th and H St, “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. Mayor Bowser acknowledged our responsibility as the nation’s capital to send a very clear message to our country that is rooted in the humanity of local DC and needed humanity as black lives matter. We stand behind meaningful steps that are taken to end systemic racism and social injustice in this country and in our city.  This...
We are all watching and many are participating as protests continue in DC, across our country, and in cities worldwide over the tragic death of George Floyd and systemic racism and inequity in this country. As some protests continue to result in destruction of property, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that tonight (6/3) curfew will begin at 11pm and remain in place through 6am tomorrow morning (6/4). The Mayor noted that the curfew will be revisited daily as needed with consideration for public safety, so be mindful this may impact weekend operations. The city urges everyone to close down...
March 25, 2020 - The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has had an immediate impact on businesses and more repercussions are to come, particularly for restaurants, hotels, food distributors, retailers, and other vendors that service the hospitality industry. Below are some potential solutions that can assist hospitality owners with cashflow in the coming months. Defer Tax Payments Both the federal and state governments have issued guidance regarding extended due dates for paying certain taxes, which could help business owners temporarily preserve some of their cashflow. Below is summary of the...
March 19, 2020 - As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, restaurants are being restricted to carryout and delivery service, while many others are closing their businesses entirely during this period. As a result, much of restaurants’ food inventory may spoil and end up getting trashed. Restaurant owners should strongly consider donating their food inventory to a charitable organization, as this will not only help many people in a time of need, but will result in a special and advantageous treatment by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to Internal Revenue...
As labor costs continue to rise for most hospitality owners, as well as employers in other industries, there is a tax credit available that can assist in mitigating some of the labor costs to the business owner. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is available to business owners on qualified first- and/or second-year wages that are paid to employees from select targeted groups. To claim the credit, the employer must ask for and be issued a certification from each employee from the state workforce agency. The certification proves that the employee is a member of a targeted group. Examples of...
May 18, 2020 - On the evening of May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released Form 3508, Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application. The forgiveness application form, which includes instructions and worksheets, represents a significant advance in the official guidance on PPP loan forgiveness. As we continue to dig in to the details, here are some high-level observations: 75% Rule: Based on the wording of prior guidance, some had speculated that the 75% rule could result in no (i.e. $0) PPP loan forgiveness, if less than 75% of a borrower’s loan...
Hearts are heavy this morning. We know so many of you as an industry and as individuals are speaking up and taking action against injustice in your own ways and are working hard to be leaders for what is right.  We are here standing in solidarity with all of you who stand for much needed systemic change. All of us who live and work in this region celebrate the fact that DC is a place where people gather, sometimes by the hundreds of thousands and even millions of people to stand up for what they believe in, march, peacefully demonstrate, and work hard to have their voices heard time and...
Sunday night in the District protests continued and several business areas were vandalized.  The City urges that businesses and individuals should be prepared to take precautionary measures today and tomorrow, and potentially as the week stretches on.  The protests have taken on many forms, and although over 90% has been peaceful protesting, there are additional layers creating unrest in the evening hours.  We encourage you to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to protect your businesses and employees.  Today, June 1st, Mayor Bowser announced that DC will be...
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...
As you consider reopening and are making plans to get your restaurant ready, it is important to ensure you know the proper protocol if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Our local Mayor and Governors have all warned that as the region begins to reopen, cases will rise, so you need to know the immediate steps to take.  Steps to Take if an Employee Tests Positive:  Step One: Call your local Department of Health and report the case. They can also provide specific guidance for your restaurant on how to handle operations and disinfecting. DC DOH, VDH, MDH. Step Two:...
As Friday’s planned reopening in Northern Virginia and the District is upon us, we are sharing quick updates, reminders, and resources as you make your plans.  DC - Stage 1 Reopening - Friday May 29 Today, Mayor Bowser released the official order permitting reopening of the District under Stage 1 guidelines on Friday, May 29th. Click here for the Order.  Click here for the NEW Stage 1 Restaurant Guidance. As we expected, the Stage 1 Order includes that taverns, nightclubs and mixed-use facilities that serve food, and that are already approved to provide such outdoor service...
Dear Operator,  Heading into this week I know you all have your heads in reopening as most of the Metro Area moves into phase/stage one at the end of the week or early next week.  That transition is equal parts a welcome relief and a new and difficult challenge for those who are choosing to utilize available outdoor space.  On Friday, we tackled many of your issues on DC’s reopening and shared resources and tools (see here) as you plan for these upcoming transitions.  Today, Mayor Bowser gave a situational update and indicated that reopening in Stage 1 is still...
Executive Order Number 63 (2020) Order of Public Health Emergency Five: Requirement to Wear Face Covering While Inside Buildings  Importance of the Issue The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. Measures undertaken over the last ten weeks have slowed the spread of the virus; however, its transmission continues to threaten our communities. We must remain vigilant. In fact, as we reopen Virginia, it is critical that we become even more vigilant. Studies of the virus show that a substantial number of individuals with coronavirus are...
Dear Operator,  We all know that there was no handbook for Coronavirus, no roadmap for dealing with the wreckage it has caused, and we have all been reinventing the wheel every week for 10 weeks now to innovate, create, manage, and provide support for one another.  Reopening is and will be just as challenging as closing or modifying was in March.  I know many of you are concerned about areas of the restaurant portion of DC’s reopening plan, as was expected. It’s important to stress here that the guidance that was shared by Mayor Bowser on Thursday is merely that,...
Dear Operator,  On Thursday 5/21 in DC, Mayor Bowser shared the official reopening recommendations from the ReOpen DC Committee that outlines what the stages/phases of reopening will look like, and stated that barring any spikes DC could begin a phased reopening on Friday, May 29th. We continue to meet outlined markers and are 11-days into a 14-day decline that is required before entering Stage One.  Stage One will look similar to how you are currently operating with outdoor on-premise dining permitted with physical distancing and safeguards. Safeguards are defined as: physical...
Dear Operator,  Today was a good day for restaurants in DC. The Council passed legislation that clarified the timeline, mechanism and relief tied to the Tenant Payment Plan (TPP) which requires landlords to provide payment plans for rent due during the health emergency. This will allow the payment of missed or late rent due during the health emergency to be paid within one year. This applies to all retailers plus all commercial property under 6,500 sqft. This will go into effect when the Mayor signs the legislation, and we will keep you posted on when that occurs and what you should be...
Good Afternoon Operator,  We have received some additional PPP guidance from the SBA which released its first public version of the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. Click here for the application and instructions. REMINDER: Today is the deadline for you to return PPP funds, if you decided PPP is not right for you. The application provides us with much clearer guidance on what supporting documents to gather as well as draft calculation forms to show the forgiveness calculations.   The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application was not expected to codify major changes to the PPP...
Dear DC Operator,  As we head into the weekend, I wanted to remind you of specific relief that was passed and signed into law by Mayor Bowser earlier this week.  This is relief that your restaurant or operation can take advantage of RIGHT NOW.  Below is a breakdown of what is in effect with applicable amendments made by ABRA.   Cap on Third-Party Delivery Fees: Commissions payable to third-party delivery companies are limited to 15% during Mayor’s Public Health Emergency, which is currently set to expire on June 8th. We are working to extend this beyond the...
Good Morning Operators, We are shifting gears a bit today to discuss the first step of a multi-part consumer facing marketing campaign. As we continue to gain new insight from leaders across the region on the WHEN of reopening, we are beginning our own gradual efforts of HOW industry messaging and marketing tied to all the phases of recovery will unfold.   We’ve been mentioning this multi phase campaign to you rooted in 1) Gratitude, 2) Public Trust & Best Practices, and lastly 3) Recovery & Dining Out.  We will be kicking off Part 1 of this campaign...
Dear Operator,  As we await major changes to PPP with Congress considering the HEROES Act and a potential vote on it tomorrow as Speaker Pelosi brings the bill to the floor, there is a quick PPP update that is relevant for businesses that were approved for PPP. The Treasury Department extended the deadline for decisions to return PPP funds through Monday 5/18, from the previous deadline which was today, 5/14.  For anyone who has received a PPP loan and is still deciding if PPP is right for you, you now have several more days to review your situation and make a choice. Click here...
OPENTABLE OPERATOR INSIGHTS As restaurant doors reopen, chefs will be at the stove, people will fill tables (even if they are a few more feet apart), and community will matter more than ever. Whether you’ve been closed for weeks or offering only takeout and delivery, OpenTable is here to help you welcome back guests and rebuild your business. Set up to reopen For a successful reopening, you’ll want to make sure your books are open, your staff is ready, and guests know about your offerings and the measures you’re taking to ensure a safe dining environment. Find the...
The restaurant industry is being hit hard by COVID-19 with millions of hospitality workers out of work. OpenTable is committed to supporting the restaurant community and we recognize the road to recovery will be long and difficult. That’s why we’re excited to announce two new initiatives to help restaurants successfully reopen their businesses. First, an enhanced restaurant management platform OpenTable’s software has always enabled restaurants to connect with diners to manage reservations, prepare for shifts, and maximize table availability. During the crisis, we have...

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