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DC Emergency Legislation, Regional Updates + Call with Natl Rest Association & Local Independent Operators 4/7

April 6, 2020
Dear Operators, 
We have updates and developments from around the region.  
DC Emergency Legislation
Tuesday morning, the DC Council is introducing additional Emergency Legislation intended to address shortfalls from the initial Emergency Legislation, however there are still issues that are not addressed in this second bill, and we will continue to work with the Council to make sure our industry’s needs are met. One of the main issues that was removed from the legislation due to fiscal impact addresses much needed support for undocumented workers through a parallel UI process and a grant program. This is an issue we will continue to advocate for, and the Council has committed to continuing discussions to support this community in clear need of relief. 
Both Mayor Bowser and Chairman Mendelson addressed that the DC government will need to cut $600 million for this year, an additional $600 million in the upcoming budget with overall spending at 2017 levels. Outlined below are pertinent issues addressed in the legislation. 
Paid Leave: The DC Paid Leave law was amended to be in line with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Businesses with between 50 and 499 employees must offer 2 weeks of paid leave for reasons outlined in the FFCRA. Click here for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the leave portion of this legislation. 
Under FFCRA employers with less than 50 employees are eligible for a hardship exemption that must be demonstrated by meeting the criteria laid out by the Department of Labor showing that the viability of your business will be jeopardized if paid leave is provided.
Mortgage relief available for Commercial Landlords: Allows for 90-day mortgage deferrals that must be passed through to commercial tenants.      
  • A landlord receiving a mortgage deferral on a property that has a commercial tenant shall reduce the rent charged to the commercial tenant proportional to the reduced mortgage.   
  • Mortgages are to develop programs which: (1) Grant at least a 90-day deferment of mortgage payments for borrowers; (2) Permanently waives any late fee, processing fee, or any other fees accrued during the public health emergency; and (3) Does not report to a credit bureau any delinquency or other derogatory information that occurs as a result of the deferral.          
ANC Protest Period for ABC Licenses: The 45 calendar day protest period for ANCs to protest an ABC license changed to 60 calendar days during any public health emergency declared by the Mayor.
DC Business Operations
Separate from the Emergency Legislation, we wanted to acknowledge that during today’s press conference Mayor Bowser stated the DC Food Policy Council is going to focus on food markets to make sure there is a plan to enforce social distancing, that people are able to get in and out of the market safely, and to ensure essential food can be delivered versus other non-essential items. The Mayor also warned if businesses become lax on proper operating protocol you will be shut down. 
RAMW is in close contact with the DC Food Policy Center and we are seeking details of what they are crafting to ensure our industry provides feedback when this plan is in draft form. As many of you have moved to offer a market-like opportunity for your guests to shop and procure items from your establishments, we will keep you posted on these developments. 
Virginia Distilleries
Due to the ongoing restrictions under Executive Order 55, the ABC is allowing distillery stores (distillers) to ship limited quantities of spirits to customers. The addendum allowing this is in effect as long as ABC are considered essential businesses and EO 55 is in effect. Read details here.
CDC Recommends Wearing Masks
The CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. 
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Click here to read more from CDC and to learn how to make a cloth mask at home. 
It is very important to note that wearing a face mask does NOT replace social distancing and everyone should still be practicing social distancing. 
Acme Paper and Supply Co. is working with food service operators to get them sought-after supplies including face masks and face shields. Please contact Scott Attman with questions and for ordering details. 
Resources for Restaurants and Businesses from Allied Members
Many of RAMW’s Endorsed Providers, Industry Partners, and Allied Members are offering great support to restaurants and small businesses during this time in the way of resource guides, PPP loan support, discounted or free services, moped share for in-house delivery service, free online ordering systems, and more. Click here to see the guide. 
More to come, as always, to help you with daily operations, resources, and updates.