The District government begins its Educational and Academic Retail Shops (EARS) pilot program today, May 18. It is evidence of a small but cautious approach to reopening Washington, D.C., for full business activity.
From the Office of the Mayor: “The EARS pilot will grant waivers to local educational and academic retail shops to do curbside and front door pickup. All sales are advance purchases (pre-ordered online or by phone) only. The stores will need to agree to share data and information with us about their operations. The goal with this pilot is to learn important lessons about reopening while ensuring safe operations.”
In accordance with the mayor’s order, the District government will only allow certain nonessential businesses to operate if operators submit and get approved a COVID-19 EARS waiver request to operate during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
According to the District government, the following businesses were approved for EARS pilot waivers, covering the period from May 18 though June 8 (names are linked to store websites when available):
• Child’s Play Toys and Books, 5536 Connecticut Ave. NW (pickup “grab and go” and curbside service)
• Fairy Godmother Child Books and Toys, 319 7th St. SE, 202-420-8276
• Loyalty Bookstores, 843 Upshur St. NW
• Lost City Bookstores, 2467 18th St. NW (pickup “grab and go” only)
• Mahogany Bookstore, 1231 Good Hope Road SE
• Middle C Music Corp., 4530 Wisconsin Ave. NW (pickup “grab and go” only)
• Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, 70 District Square SW, 1270 5th St. NE (pickup “grab and go” only)
• Village Art and Craft Inc., 1625 Wisconsin Ave. NW
To be eligible, nonessential businesses like bookstores, art supply stores, toy stores, office supply stores and music stores must be independently owned and operated, with the principal business physically located in Washington, D.C.
In the application process, businesses are expected to provide information about an operations plan that includes curbside and pickup operations with safe social distancing or contactless exchange, an enforcement plan, a shutdown plan and a sanitization plan. The application is available here.
Businesses will be notified about their waiver status via email within 24 hours after submitting an application.