It’s a brave new world, at least temporarily, for any operator of any bricks-and-mortar retail location.
The coronavirus outbreak has ushered in the era of social distancing, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered all restaurants, gyms and theaters to reduce capacity to 10 or close. Arlington County officials, meanwhile, have urged restaurants to close their dining rooms completely.
At the Gold’s Gym in Ballston today, a line formed — with most people appearing to keep their recommended six-foot distance from one another — as a sign announced a 10-member capacity inside and a 30-minute limit on workouts.
It was the biggest congregation of people ARLnow spotted up and down the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Elsewhere, people were out walking, running or riding bikes, but few could be seen going in or out of stores or restaurants.
Arlington County, meanwhile, has been establishing temporary pick up and drop off zones in restaurant districts, including Clarendon, for customers of restaurants that remain open for takeout and delivery. The zones replace two-hour metered parking zone.
An ARLnow reader tells us parking enforcement officers have been out and about ticketing today.
To encourage safe pick-up from Arlington restaurants, the County is designating free short-term curbside parking spaces. Look for temporary signs outside restaurants with takeout options. Businesses can request sign installation at 703-228-5000 or [email protected] pic.twitter.com/tDEtXfjHyo
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) March 18, 2020
Reduced volumes of takeout and delivery business are unlikely to sustain local restaurants for very long.
There may be just a bit of relief, however. Virginia ABC has loosened rules on alcohol deliveries, including from restaurants, as noted by the Washington Business Journal’s Alex Koma.
This got me wondering what the guidelines are for Virginia restaurants. Turns out ABC has just made it easier for folks to get delivery permits and is allowing distilleries the ability to deliver/make hand sanitizer, similar to others in D.C. Details: https://t.co/Ru0E4fKfk0 https://t.co/uQLs4D3RwV
— Alex Koma (@AlexKomaWBJ) March 18, 2020
Jay Westcott contributed to this report