On May 27, 2020, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Order 0202-067, which details the Phase One limited reopening of non-essential businesses in Washington, D.C., to begin on Friday, May 29, 2020. The Mayor’s decision to begin to reopen D.C. follows on the heels of prior orders of Governors Larry Hogan and Ralph Northam to reopen neighboring Maryland and Virginia, respectively. Governor Hogan allowed certain nonessential businesses in Maryland to reopen on May 15, 2020, and on May 27, 2020, he issued Order 20-05-27-01, expanding its phase one reopening. Governor Northam’s Executive Order 61 eased certain temporary restrictions throughout most of the Commonwealth of Virginia beginning on May 15, 2020, and Executive Order 62 permits the Northern Virginia Region, Richmond, and Accomack County to begin reopening on May 29, 2020.
The recent Mayor’s Order lifts restrictions in the “Stay at Home” Order and allows certain businesses to reopen or expand operations starting on May 29, 2020, including nonessential retail businesses, barbershops and salons, and outdoor on-site restaurant service, under the following conditions:
To operate under Phase One Reopening, businesses must:
During Phase One, healthcare providers may continue to offer, or resume offering, services that will not unduly burden hospital capacity or COVID-19 related resources, including outpatient or other surgical procedures. Thus, pursuant to this Order, non-emergency and elective procedures may resume.
Under the extended Phase One Reopening Order in Maryland, religious facilities, retail establishments, manufacturing companies, beauty salons and barber shops, and restaurants may reopen under the following conditions:
Under the recent Maryland order, all businesses, organizations, and facilities permitted to open must follow all applicable social distancing guidance published by the CDC and the MDH, as well as any applicable Local Orders or the Secretary’s Directives.
Businesses may require staff and customers or visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings. Any business that requires the use of face coverings must post signs at each entrance advising customers, visitors, and/or staff about the requirements. Retail Establishments, however, must continue to comply with Order 20-04-15-01 regarding the use of face coverings and requiring implementation of physical distancing measures.
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 61, the Commonwealth of Virginia began its Phase One of reopening on May 15, 2020. Shortly after issuing that order, however, Governor Northam issued and then amended Executive Order No. 62, which granted the Northern Virginia Region, Richmond, and Accomack County a delay from the Phase One reopening and kept those areas in Phase Zero. Effective May 29, 2020, Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Accomack County will join the rest of the Commonwealth in allowing certain businesses, including restaurants, nonessential retail businesses, fitness and exercise facilities, personal care and grooming services, indoor shooting ranges, and campgrounds to open with the following restrictions:
On May 26, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order No. 63, detailing requirements for wearing face coverings inside buildings. While these requirements, effective May 29, 2020, predominantly apply to patrons, the order specifically requires employees of essential retail businesses to wear face coverings whenever working in customer-facing areas.
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As reopening in the DMV moves into Phase One, businesses should begin crafting and refining a written plan to reopen that meets the specified requirements in each jurisdiction in which they operate. Certainly, the District of Columbia requires employers to have such a plan. Developing a comprehensive reopening and safety plan is also a best practice that will aid employers in setting expectations for employees, addressing employee safety concerns, and limiting liability. Employers should also train their staff on the plan and its requirements.
As every jurisdiction opens at different rates, businesses must remain cognizant of the changing requirements and ensure that their policies and practices evolve to meet these requirements.