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DC Council Passes Additional Relief for Restaurants 5/5

May 6, 2020

Dear Operator, 

On May 5th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation that provides additional relief for our industry. We have been working closely with the Council to help ensure the continued support of the unique needs of our industry happen. Yesterday, I shared a breakdown of what we thought would be included in the bill, and below is a breakdown of what passed today. 

What was passed is similar to what we previously shared with a big exception on Business Interruption Insurance. Unfortunately, the Council did not include extending Business Interruption Insurance to cover COVID-19 in the legislation.  As many members voiced concerns regarding the constitutionality of the proposal, Council decided not to move forward with the provision today.  However, Council emphasized its intention on continuing discussions and intends to review the provision at a later date.  We will continue conversations with the Council and advocate for inclusion in future legislation.  

Before I get into the breakdown of what passed on 5/5, I want to share a reminder that the temporary legislation which allows ABC on-premises licensed establishments such as taverns and restaurants to sell alcohol for pick up and delivery does not expire until November 2020.

Our intent is to keep this top of mind as an ongoing form of relief knowing recovery is long term as is the need to keep certain relief measures and allowances in place. 

A few successes include:

Cap on Third-Party Delivery Fees: Commissions payable to third-party delivery companies are limited to 15% during the period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency, which currently expires on May 15th and will likely be extended until all restrictions of operation are lifted: 

  • In addition, consumers must be informed, before the transaction is finalized, of all fees, commission and payments imposed by the delivery company on the restaurant.
  • We intend to continue conversations with the Council on this issue to explore opportunities to keep the cap in place after the health emergency expires. 
  • We are awaiting more details on enforcement, but any person who violates the section is subject to a fine between $250-$1,000 for each violation. 

Work Share Program

Understanding the complexities you as an operator are experiencing as you consider rehiring employees currently on UI, the Work Share Program could offer some assistance as you begin your specific onboarding process.  

Program Overview: 

  • Provides that once the temporary legislation expires, the group of employers participating in the Work Share Program will no longer be prohibited from participating in work-share.
  • Shared Work is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers confronted with a temporary decline in business. 
  • The principle behind Shared Work is: instead of laying off a percentage of their workforce to cut costs, an employer could reduce employees’ hours by the same percentage and keep the entire workforce on the job.
  • Employees participating in the Work Share Program would still be eligible for UI and the additional $600 through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. 
  • We are connecting with DOES and will send more information shortly about how you best utilize the Work Share Program 

Mandatory tenant payment plans

  • Landlord's must provide payment plans for rent due during the health emergency. The plan will allow for payment of missed or late rent to be paid within the year. 

Utility repayment plans

  • While we expected the Council to approve the proposal requiring utility providers to allow repayment plans for unpaid amounts, it was pulled from the bill.  We will continue to discuss this with the Council and will push for approval of a proposal on utility repayment plans. 

ABC privileges for second premises during the health emergency

  • An on-premises retailer’s licensee that is registered with the Board may also register with the Board to sell beer, wine, or spirits in closed containers accompanied by one or more prepared food items for off-premises consumption from one additional location other than the licensed premises.  This means if you have demand for additional carryout and delivery, you may service the demand from another location in addition to your current licensed premises.
  • We will share more information on registering as it becomes available.

No late fees for two year reports or trade name registrations

  • No late fee shall be assessed on two year reports for corporations and LLCs nor for trade name renewals provided they are filed by June 1, 2020.

We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available on taking advantage of the provisions passed today.

If you have any questions or need further clarification on any items passed today, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my team at

Be safe. Be kind.