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Reopening Updates Heading into the Weekend

June 19, 2020

In DC, Mayor Bowser issued the official Order, which allows DC to enter Stage Two on Monday, June 22nd at 12:01am. Stage Two allows for indoor dining at 50% capacity. The Department of Health released important guidance documents and the following measures should be implemented to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission amongst employees, patrons, and the community. Please read the guidance document in full as it shares important information for employees, customers and operations. The Mayor’s Order outlines the below requirements, but also includes further recommendations.  

  • Service is limited to outdoor service and indoor service up to 50% capacity to seated patrons only (including hotel restaurants), with tables placed so that patrons are at least 6 feet apart, or to carry-out service
  • Bar areas where a bartender is present must remain closed to patrons for seating and standing. Bar areas where a bartender will not be present may seat patrons with proper social distancing and table style service. Establishments with multiple bar areas must designate each bar area as either for staff use for bartending or for patron seating. No standing is permitted at the bar area.
  • Tables are still limited to 6 persons, preferably from the same household.
  • Reservations are encouraged and customers should provide names and contact information and record time of arrival, and are encouraged to keep dining logs to facilitate contact tracing if necessary. 

Click here for the Mayor’s Order. 

Click here for the DC DOH Guidance document. 

If you are currently offering any outdoor on-premise dining any representative from your restaurant must take a mandatory 20-minute webinar on protocol requirements from the DC Department of Health.  Only one person from the restaurant needs to take this webinar.  If you have already completed this webinar, at this time you are not required to take an additional webinar to operate indoor dining, and instead DOH will send you additional information. If you have not yet taken the 20-minute webinar you must email to register, and complete it within two weeks of offering ANY on premise dining whether outdoor or indoor.  

We have also heard from some of you that it has been difficult to ask customers to remain in masks when they are not eating, or to follow social distancing requirements and other guidelines at times. We know this can be an uncomfortable conversation, and we know you want to operate in a way that is in compliance. If you have a liquor license and have questions about how to handle specific situations or have bad actors in your restaurant you can email ABRA at or call them at 202-329-6347. If you do not have a liquor license, you can contact DOH at

Additionally, we heard from some of you seeking signage to post within your establishments. 

DC has signage you can easily print and post for Maintaining 6-foot Distance, Please Wear a Mask signage, and combined signage for both.  

The Office of Tax and Revenue sent communications out this week stating that the sales of food, drink, and alcohol for consumption on-premises prepared by restaurants, bars, and similar establishments are subject to sales tax at a rate of 10%. Sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises are subject to sales tax at a rate of 10.25%. You are required to collect sales tax as usual and remit that tax to OTR. As this is a statutory issue we will work with the Council to clarify that on or off premise consumption of alcohol from a restaurant will be taxed at 10%. It is reasonable that this fix will happen as making the adjustment will not have a fiscal impact. 

Finally in DC, Mayor Bowser has been fighting for DC Statehood, along with many other leaders, for many years. She has asked that our industry join her in this effort as Friday, June 26th marks a historic day where the House of Representatives will vote on HR 51 which aims to make DC the 51st state and grant the city statehood.  If you are interested in joining this effort, the Mayor is encouraging restaurants to create statehood or 51st state themed cocktails or dishes, and to click here to print out signage for your restaurant to post.  If you are posting on social media, tag us at @ramwdc to let us know what you’re doing and we will repost and share. 

In Virginia, Governor Northam outlined what Phase Three of reopening will look like. He did not say when the state will enter Phase Three, but said the earliest would be June 26th. In Phase Three, restaurant and beverage establishments are required to maintain six feet of distance between parties, but it does not provide a restricted percentage of occupancy. Below is a quick recap of the guidance, but we encourage you to read the guidance in full as it provides important information. 

  • Buffets may be open for self-service, with continuous monitoring by trained staff required at food lines, and serving utensils must be changed hourly during peak meal times. 
  • All parties, whether seated together or across multiple tables, must be limited to 250 patrons or less.
  • Employees working in customer dining and service areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth

Click here for the full Phase Three Guidance. 

In Maryland, Montgomery County will enter Phase 2 TODAY at 5pm. Prince George’s County entered a modified Phase 2 on Monday at 5pm. As a reminder Phase 2 in Maryland, allows for indoor dining at 50% capacity. 

Click here for Maryland’s Phase 2 Reopening Order. 

Click here for more details on Montgomery County’s Phase 2.

Click here for more details on Prince George’s County modified Phase 2. 

Finally, as you know today marks Juneteenth and many rallies, demonstrations, and events are taking place throughout the region as people are celebrating this historic holiday but are also mindfully recognizing this day in many ways and through a variety of activism activities, as are many of you and your employees.  There will be several street closures throughout the District today and throughout the weekend.  Click here for the traffic advisory for further details. 

Happy Father’s Day to all of you celebrating in one way or another this weekend!

Stay safe. Stay kind.