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Some 'non-essential' DC businesses now offer curbside, front door pickup

Bookstores, florists, toy shops, music stores and other "educational and academic retail shops" can apply for a waiver to open with certain restrictions.

WASHINGTON — D.C.'s non-essential businesses have been closed since March 24, and with the District's stay-at-home order extended through at least June 8, many local businesses are trying desperately to stay afloat. A pilot program through the D.C. government is offering a helping hand. 

The Educational and Academic Retail Shops (EARS) Pilot will grant waivers to certain non-essential businesses, such as bookstores, allowing for curbside and front door pickup on orders placed in advance online or by phone. Those granted waivers must agree to share certain data with the government, to help them gain knowledge of how to safely reopen when businesses when stay-at-home orders are lifted. 

As of May 19, 14 businesses had been granted a COVID-19 EARS Waiver. The businesses range from florists to bookstores, toy stores, and arts & crafts shops. The program, developed through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, marks a new step in the city’s gradual reopening efforts. 

Any non-essential business physically located in D.C. that is independently owned and operated may apply for a waiver under the pilot program.

RELATED: MAP: Here's who is reopening around the DMV and who isn't

"Middle C Music, Child's Play, and Politics & Prose are beloved local businesses and I know that residents have greatly missed them during the coronavirus emergency," Councilmember Mary Cheh said. "I'm so pleased that they will now be able to offer curbside pick-ups and, if all goes well, the success of this pilot could be a strong indicator for other small businesses as we begin the transition to reopening the District."

Approved EARS Pilot Waivers

RELATED: DC's stay-at-home order extended to June 8. Here's what that means

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