Mayor Bowser Lifts Stay-at-Home-Order and Allows Establishments to Reopen Outdoors – An Analysis

[New Post here: Which Restaurants and Bars Are Allowed to Open on Friday?]

This morning, Mayor Bowser announced that the stay-at-home order, which was in effect starting April 1st, would end at midnight May 28th. Beginning May 29th, restaurants and other establishments can reopen for outdoor seating only, which marks the first time they’ve been open since March 16th.

The order (posted first by Mark Segraves, NBC4), which echoes some of what I discussed in my open letter as well as my proposal from last week, with respect to restaurants/bars:

Allows ALL of the following to open for outdoor dining:

    • Restaurants
    • Other licensed food establishments
    • Taverns, nightclubs and mixed-use facilities that serve food (other part of order says “licensed to serve food”) and already have a summer garden (rooftop/courtyard) or sidewalk cafe ABRA endorsement

Bars/nightclubs/taverns that are not licensed to serve food (I think most if not all are licensed) and don’t have a summer garden or sidewalk license (a lot don’t) cannot open.

Mayor Bowser announced that there will be a process to open outdoor seating to let other restaurants be allowed to expand into. Hopefully, bars/nightclubs/taverns will be allowed to participate in this expansion and receive an expedited ABRA endorsement.

Outdoor dining must occur in DDOT and ABRA approved areas:

  • Outdoor dining customers must be seated while placing orders and be served at tables only
  • 6 people at each table
  • Tables serving parties at least 6 feet apart.

Mayor Bowser and the DOH director Nebsitt weren’t clear if this allows restaurants to serve on rooftops or in back patios or other areas that are not in DDOT-governed public space.

Reservations “encouraged” via online or telephone. They are also encouraged (not required) to keep customer logs to facilitate contact tracing by Department of Health.


Department of Health also released guidance. Via the Mayor’s Order these are required. Select requirements:


  • Standing or sitting at an outdoor bar is prohibited
  • Reservations are encouraged and dining records will be saved for at least 30 days.
  • Customers should provide names and contact information and record time of arrival.
    • This appears not to be mandatory but do it.
  • Masks required while not eating or drinking. When ordering food and prior to being served


  • Wear Masks when working
  • Where gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces used at least every 4-6 hours, and tables/receipt trays between uses
  • Sick or symptoms should immediately stop working and leave.


  • Employees must be assessed with questionnaire before shift
  • Must tell 3rd party delivery/suppliers about requirements
  • Post signage that nobody with a fever or symptoms are allowed and everyone has to wear a mask
  • Try to have separate entrance/exit
  • Don’t allow congregation
  • Paper menus strongly encouraged and discarded. Reusable menus have to be cleaned and disinfected between each use
  • Buffets and salad bars are prohibited
  • No self service drink stations, condiments stations, and utensil/napkin stations
  • Single use items strongly encouraged.
  • Flush water systems
  • Tables, chairs, check presenters must be disinfected after each seating

Other restrictions non-restaurants

  • Everyone must continue to maintain a distance of at least six feet from person not in their household, except if such distance is impossible to maintain (e.g obtaining medical services, haircut)
  • Large gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited
  • Nonessential retail business open for advance order OUTDOOR pickup only or delivery
  • Barbershops and hair salons allowed appointment only
    • “encouraged to keep customer information related to these appointments including which barber or stylist saw that customer”
    • No waiting
    • 1 customer per barber/stylist
    • No waxing, electrolysis, threading, and nail care
    • 6 feet from each other
  • Healthcare providers can offer services including outpatient or other surgery
  • Workers open must tell employees if come to work if sick
  • Plan required that includes all employees about testing locations in DC and CDC guidance
  • Parks, dog parks, tennis courts, tracks, and fields (not playground or pools) will be open.

One response to “Mayor Bowser Lifts Stay-at-Home-Order and Allows Establishments to Reopen Outdoors – An Analysis”

  1. […] reported here earlier today, Mayor Bowser lifted the stay-at-home order and is allowing restaurants and other food […]

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