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DC DOH, Virginia, and Industry Marketing Plans 5/8

May 11, 2020

Dear Operator, 

I hope you made it through the week feeling positive as progress on reopening is on the horizon and we gain more clarity each day on next steps. Many of you have asked for more information on protocol regarding employee and customer exposure to COVID-19. We are in touch daily with the DC Department of Health and are awaiting and expecting industry-specific guidance that they are developing this weekend to provide operators with critical information as we enter reopening in the future.  We are hoping to send the step-by-step guidance no later than close of business on Monday.  In the meantime, here is some guidance DOH shared earlier that may be helpful to you. 

Recommendations from DC Health on Monitoring Employee Health & Personal Hygiene:

  • Employers should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, as outlined on, and regularly monitor employees throughout their shift.
  • Notify DC Health immediately upon being notified of an employee testing positive for COVID-19 at
  • Exclude employee from facility until cleared by their healthcare provider to return to work.
  • Restrict employees from the food establishment that have come into contact with a positive case of COVID-19 for 14 days.
  • Clean and sanitize as outlined in the CDC guidance, found here
  • For free COVID-19 testing call 1 855 363 0333 (English)  1 844 796 2797 (Spanish)
  • Helpful Article: Your Employee Tested Positive for Covid-19. What Do You Do?

Virginia Updates

Today, Governor Northam announced that he anticipates Phase One of reopening will start on Friday, May 15th. The Governor noted this is still dependent on trends decreasing, which he anticipates. The Phase One Guidelines provide detailed information about what Phase One will look like for our industry. Key operational changes required during Phase One are listed below, however this is NOT an extensive list and the full guidelines should be followed: 

  • Restaurants should continue to offer takeout and delivery options. 
  • If restaurants choose to open to dine-in customers, they may only do so in outdoor spaces and occupancy must be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable. Indoor dining is not permitted in Phase One. 
  • There must be a minimum of six feet between parties at tables, (i.e., the six feet cannot include the space taken up by the seated guest). 
  • Employees working in customer dining and service areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth. 
  • Parties are limited to 10 or less. 

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE FULL GUIDELINES FOR REOPENING. The guidelines provide additional guidance and restrictions, so we recommend reading the document in full. 

Phase One will last a minimum of two weeks, and it is the hope that it will not extend beyond two weeks. Governor Northam indicated that Phase Two will allow indoor dining at 50% capacity with tables spaced six feet apart. 

There has been some scattered discussion by Northern Virginia elected officials to delay state-wide reopening by 2 weeks in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William County, however at this time it is prudent to operate under the assumption that Phase One of Reopening will happen equally across the state on Friday, May 15th. 

Reopening Marketing Plan

Early next week, we will be sharing details on our marketing recovery plan and campaign, which you as operators can easily plug into.  We have heard from many of you that marketing is a critical part of reopening and we have developed a comprehensive marketing campaign that will take place industry wide and will be timed accordingly with the phases of reopening.  

The elements of the campaign will be phased to address three anchoring messages, 1)  Gratitude: To thank diners for their support and loyalty during this difficult time, 2) Public Trust and Best Practices: To share health and safety information to regain public trust as we head into a phased-in reopening, and 3) Recovery & Dine Out:  A creative month-long dine-out campaign encouraging diners to go out and welcoming them back to your establishments, as well as creative ways to continue to bolster your takeout and delivery business.  Artwork and collateral has been developed and will be shared as we enter that specific phase of marketing.  We have supportive industry partners to include Events DC, JBG Smith and others who have committed to help fund these programs to ensure a robust budget is in place for advertising and media buys across TV, digital platforms, social media platforms, and more to ensure high visibility of the marketing needs of our industry.  We will share more in the days to come so you can be engaged in the campaign and sign on to be part of all phases of the campaign benefitting from the marketing while sharing on your platforms. 

PPP Updates

As we await updates on Phase IV of the CARES Act, we understand that Chuck Schumer intends to unveil a plan next week that would provide for sweeping PPP changes and retroactive considerations.  The proposed plan extends the coverage period from 8 weeks to 12 or 24 weeks, extends loan forgiveness to the end of the year, and dramatically changes the 75/25 requirement on how funds are spent to increase flexibility for operators.  The National Restaurant Association is encouraging this proposal and asking that tax credits are additionally included. The Treasury announced Tuesday that they are extending the safe harbor period from May 7 to May 14, which may be to provide buffer time as new provisions on loan forgiveness are potentially coming soon.  Speaker of the House Pelosi indicated that she hopes to move on Phase IV quickly. 

Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT is Open 

The Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program, designed to provide immediate financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now open for applications.

The GRANT Program will provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees. Businesses may use the grants for employee salary and benefits as well as for other business capital and operating expenses directly related to the immediate impacts of COVID-19. Applicants must demonstrate revenue losses of 35 per cent or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be accepted now through May 17. Click here for more information. 

Finally, the Restaurant and Food Sellers Reopen DC Committee is in the final days of delivering recommendations to Mayor Bowser.  If you have any final feedback you have not yet shared, please do so by Saturday 5/9 to

I wish you a good weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day.  We are seeing and sharing your creative Mother’s Day specials for takeout and delivery on our platforms.