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Reopening requires two sets of guidelines. First, the government mandated guidelines we are working with regional leaders on and will share with you soon. Second are the operational guidelines and recommendations for ensuring your teams are prepared, that your finances are in order as much as they can be, that your physical restaurant and inventory are ready, and that you have communication plans in place to train staff on protocol and to let your customers know what you are doing, to name a few things. Some of our industry partners have shared resources, toolkits, and checklists to help you consider what you may need to do in all of these areas. 

Registering for public and private space use

DC Resources

  • If you already hold a permit for outdoor dining, you can begin service, but are requested to still register to notify DDOT and ABRA of service. Register here.
  • If you are interested in expanding to public or private space you complete Phase One Registration using this link for both public and private space use. (I know we are no longer in Phase One but the registration is still referred to as “Phase One Registration”.)
  • For additional seating of private space, you only need to show an agreement to use the space and complete Phase One Registration.
  • For additional seating on public space, within 5 days you must submit the Temporary Sidewalk Table Service permit to DDOT through TOPS by clicking here
    • If you don't already have a TOPS account with DDOT you will need to create one to apply for the public space permit.
  • Click here for more information from DDOT and ABRA about registering for outdoor dining. 

Maryland Resources

Virginia Resources

On Wednesday, January 27th, Governor Northam announced that it has approved a permanent version of its COVID-19 workplace safety rules, which mandates employers implement pandemic precautions such as social distancing and masks.

The permanent standards will remain in place at least until the end of the pandemic, at which point the Commonwealth’s Safety and Health Codes Board can reconvene to determine whether the regulations are still necessary.

As a reminder, last summer, the Commonwealth became the first state in the country to approve an emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 safety and prevention. The Emergency Standard (ETS) served as the foundation for the newly adopted permanent measures. As detailed in previous reports on the public hearings, the regulations were supported by union organizations and employee or worker advocacy groups. Proponents urged the importance of protecting workers from COVID-19 exposure. Many groups representing the Virginia business community voiced opposition to the standard. The opponents highlighted concerns for placing burdensome regulations on businesses that are already struggling due to the pandemic.

The Permanent Standard uses the language from the ETS to classify job categories as high, medium, and low exposure risk. Additionally, the standard continues to require employers to provide self-monitoring methods for COVID-19 exposure, develop policies for when an employee has COVID-19 symptoms, offer notice to any individuals exposed within the workplace, and establish return to work procedures. This list is not exhaustive; much of the language in the Permanent Standard comes from the ETS.

The changes made to the Permanent Standard include:

- While the ETS had a sunset date on January 26, the standard will be permanent, but reviewed for necessity upon the Governor lifting the state of emergency in Virginia. After significant debate about whether or not the permanent standard can end in tandem with the state of emergency, the board determined that the standard cannot be legally contingent upon an executive order that can change in the future and the Safety and Health Codes Board has no authority over it. 

- In following CDC guidance, the Board changed the definition of “close contact” to include exposure within six feet for a total of at least fifteen minutes of someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.

- While employers were originally required to report every positive case of COVID-19 to the Virginia Department of Health, employers will now only report if two or more cases that occur within a 14-day period. This aligns with VDH’s “outbreak” definition and other reporting norms.

- As directed by the CDC, employees are permitted to return to work after ten days and one symptom free day.

- In the sections related to jobs classified as a “very high,” “high,” and “medium” exposure risk, the board agreed on a significant portion of new language related to ventilation controls and air handling systems. Employers with employees in these categories must meet certain requirements. For example, this section outlines stipulations pertaining to increased airflow and movement, cleaning, and evaluations.

- The Permanent Standard includes a couple of changes to requirements about personal protective equipment. These points caused particular debate during the board meeting. While the standard draft originally included language about PPE shortages and training workers on reusing PPE, the Board decided instead to keep language that requires employers to provide new PPE and focus on enforcement discretion in order to not penalize employers who make a good faith effort attain PPE during shortages. In recognizing widespread shortages of N95 masks and respirators, the standard eliminates the necessity of complying with high respiratory standards when multiple employees travel in work vehicles. The standard also stipulates that face shields are not face coverings unless a medical condition prevents someone from wearing a face covering.

Impacts to Restaurant Industry

Restaurants are classified as “Medium Exposure Risk”. The final standard includes rules regarding this exposure risk category (Pages 41-46). Some, though not all, of the rules require things such as:

- When feasible deliver products through curbside pick-up or delivery

- Where feasible, employers shall install physical barriers such as clear plastic sneeze guards, to aid in mitigating the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission.

- Where feasible Increase physical distancing between employees at the work site to six feet.

In addition, the new standard requires “Medium Exposure Risk” employers with eleven or more employees to develop and implement a written Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan.

Employers should familiarize themselves with the new standard which is attached to this memorandum.


Patio Heater Vendors - October 22, 2020

Service Offerings for Restaurants from EMR - July 27, 2020

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Restaurants - May 20, 2020

Electric Motor Repair ‘Restaurant Ramp-Up’ - Offer to inspect and restart cooking/refrigeration equipment for $25 per piece now through the end of June.

DC Resource Guide

ABRA Rules for Phase Two - June 19, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Phase 1 Guidance for Restaurants - May 27, 2020

DC ReOpening Situational UpdateMayor Bowser's Order - May 13, 2020

DC Restaurants and Food Retailers ReOpening Recommendations - May 21, 2020 

Mayor's Order Phase One of Washington, DC Reopening - May 27, 2020

Phase Two Guidance Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19): Guidance for Restaurants - June 15, 2020

ReOpen DC Recommendations to the Mayor - May 21, 2020

MD Resource guide 

Continued Declaration of a Local State of Emergency for Prince George's Co. - May 14, 2020

Montgomery Co. COVID-19 Stay at Home Order in Effect Until Local Conditions Improve - May 14, 2020

Maryland Executive Order - June 10, 2020

Maryland ReOpening Order - May 13, 2020

Maryland ReOpening Guidelines - May 13, 2020

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Announces Phase 2 Reopening Date - June 15, 2020

Prince George's County Modified Phase Two ReOpening - June 11, 2020

ReOpening Montgomery County: Phase 1 Restaurants Checklist - June 1, 2020

VA Resource guide

Executive Order 63 - May 26, 2020

Forward Virginia ReOpening Guidance - May 20, 2020

Virginia ReOpening Executive Order - May 15, 2020

Virginia Safer at Home: Phase Two Guidelines - June 2, 2020

Virginia Safer at Home: Phase Three Guidelines - June 23, 2020


COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance - October 21, 2020

CDC Restaurant Re-opening Guide - May 15, 2020

Ecolab COVID-19 Foodservice Operations Resource Libraries - These resources are a combination of CDC and WHO guidelines and Ecolab expertise.

FoodPRO: Operator Insights for Reopening Checklist - April 29, 2020

James Beard Foundation: Building a Path to ReOpening - April 22, 2020

National Restaurant Association COVID-19 Reopening Guidance - May 22, 2020

OpenTable ReOpening Insights - April 23, 2020

ReOpening Updates in DC, MD, VA - May 13, 2020

Rosslyn BID "Ready for Reentry" Program - To access these resources, click HERE if you are in Rosslyn or click HERE if you are located outside of Rosslyn.

Safety First: Serving Food and Protecting People During Covid-19 - May 21, 2020

ServSafe Before You Come to Work Hygiene Poster - May 26, 2020

ServSafe Cleaning vs. Sanitizing - May 26, 2020

ServSafe Hand Washing 101 Infographics - May 26, 2020

ServSafe ReOpening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions - OnDemand video

Streetsense: Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit for Restaurants and Bars - April 24, 2020