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Regional Reopening Updates 5/11

May 11, 2020

Dear Operator, 

I hope you had a nice Mother’s Day weekend and were able to take time to pause and recognize the important people in your life. Reopening discussions are going strong across the region, and today we have more clarity about what is happening in Northern Virginia and updates for DC. 

In Virginia, Governor Northam said in a press conference today that while reopening plans are moving forward for most of the state to enter Phase 1 this Friday, May 15th, Northern Virginia will likely delay reopening.  This is based on conversations the Governor had directly with Mayors and Chairs of the Counties in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and the City of Alexandria, who have stated they appreciate guidance for Phase 1, but urge for a regional approach to be taken consistent with DC and Maryland as Northern Virginia has not met the metrics outlined in Northam’s Forward Virginia blueprint.  Reopening before required metrics are met could result in remaining in Phase 1 for an unnecessarily long period of time or having to return to a full stay at home order.  The Governor said that the Northern Virginia leaders will likely join him for Wednesday’s press conference to further determine reopening plans for this area. 

Knowing there will likely be a delay for Northern Virginia, from the rest of the state, we encourage you to take this additional time over the next couple weeks to make sure your restaurant is operationally ready to enter Phase 1, and that you have the necessary systems in place to operate effectively within the guidelines outlined. Click here to review the Phase 1 reopening guidelines. No indoor dining will be permitted in Phase 1, and it only allows for outdoor dining at 50% capacity with 6 feet between the tables. Phase 1 also includes requirements for PPE items for staff. Click here for PPE resources from vendors in our region. 

In Fairfax County, during tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the County Executive will release a proposal to establish a $25 Million Grant Program. The program will follow much of the same guidelines as the microloan program, however, this will be a grant process which is more advantageous. The funding is coming from the money received from the CARES Act. Applications will likely open early June, and this will be open to businesses with less than 50 employees. We will share more information once it is available. 

In DC, today all of the Reopen DC Committee chairs joined Mayor Bowser for a Q&A conference with Dr. Anthony Fauci who provided feedback and guidance on reopening.  Fauci urged committees across all industries and agencies who are charged with HOW to reopen, and WHEN to reopen, to ensure we are approaching slowly, gradually, and thoughtfully.  The Restaurant and Food Sellers Committee is still finalizing recommendations for reopening that are guided by restaurants and industry stakeholders with the ultimate decision and rules coming from the Department of Health.  

Mayor Bowser will address extending the Stay at Home Order this week, which is set to expire on Friday.  The Mayor is concerned with turning on activity too fast, and wants to focus on only essential activities that can take place outdoors. We have not seen a steady decrease of cases in DC, which is a prerequisite for entering Phase 1. We will share additional information from DOH on staff and customer exposure to COVID-19 once DOH has it in final form. 

As our region begins to reopen, we are launching a comprehensive reopening marketing campaign that you can easily plug into. The campaign will focus on Gratitude, Public Trust & Best Practices, and finally Recovery & Dining Out. Stay tuned for more details about this campaign, as we are here to support you on all levels throughout this public health crisis. 

Be safe. Be kind.