FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — On Thursday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved emergency rules allowing flexibility for outdoor restaurant and exercise facilities as phase one of reopening starts Friday. The board also allowed blanket approval for individual Virginia ABC license applications.
The county usually does not permit restaurant and exercise facilities to operate in places like parking lots without specific approval. Under the emergency allowance, these facilities can use existing patios, sidewalks and paved parking spaces without the need for individual approvals from the county. Businesses must follow state reopening and county ordinance requirements.
The emergency ordinance applies to restaurants, breweries and winery tasting rooms — breweries and wineries must follow their existing food-service restrictions. Exercise facilities covered under the ordinance are gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers and sports facilities.
“As Phase One begins in Fairfax County, our hope is this emergency ordinance will give many business owners the flexibility to open their doors with public health and safety central to their operations,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a statement.
Under Virginia’s phase one guidance, indoor dining isn’t allowed while outdoor dining can operate at 50 percent capacity with six feet between parties at tables. Exercise facilities must remain closed indoors but can offer outdoor fitness with strict requirements.
Businesses must work with property owners to secure approval for using outdoor spaces. The spaces cannot interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic as well as fire lanes and equipment. The ordinance prohibits permanent physical alterations to outdoor spaces like decks or paved surfaces, and items such as tables, chairs, umbrellas and lighting must be removable.
The ordinance is effective immediately and applies for up to 60 days. A public hearing will be scheduled in mid-July for the Board of Supervisors to consider readopting the ordinance or a similar ordinance.
The towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna can choose to adopt their own ordinances or be subject to the county’s emergency ordinance.