Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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Educational and Academic Retail Shops (EARS) Pilot

On Friday May 15, Mayor Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) launched applications for the Educational and Academic Retail Shops (EARS) Pilot. 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.

The District Government will only allow certain non-essential businesses to operate if operators submit and get approved a COVID-19 EARS Waiver request to operate during the COVID-19 public health emergency.


  • Example non-essential businesses like bookstores, art supplies stores, toys stores, office supply stores, and music stores
  • Your principal business is physically located in Washington, DC; and
  • Independently owned and operated.

How to Apply

During this public health emergency, the need to protect the public health is paramount. The District seeks to ensure that public health is protected while providing access to retail options at these stores. In the application process, you will be expected to provide information about an operations plan that includes curbside and pick operations place with safe social distancing or contactless exchange, enforcement plan, shutdown plan, and sanitization plan.

To apply for EARS Waiver today, follow this link.

Following your application submission, you will be contacted about your waiver status via email within 24 hours.