On behalf of DMPED, this afternoon the Federal City Council convened a conference call with about a twenty of DC’s business organizations and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) on DC’s coronavirus efforts. DMPED staff updated us on the latest announcements from the Mayor, public resources that are available to the business community and the status of local response legislation. Open communication is essential in fast-evolving crises like this one, and we are keeping open lines of communication between the business community and the Mayor.

Mayor Bowser has announced that restrictions are being tightened on public gatherings. Schools are closed. All bars are being closed and restaurants are going to be grab-and-go or delivery only as of 10 pm tonight. Residents are encouraged to take every precaution to socially distance themselves and wash their hands often.

Small businesses should be able to apply for SBA disaster relief. Mayor Bowser’s office submitted the first formal request to SBA for federal relief this weekend. As soon as DC is approved, area small businesses can apply for 30-year loans of up to $2 million. Some nonprofits are also eligible and can receive a lower interest rate. They can apply at disasterloan.sba.gov and should receive a determination of eligibility within two to three weeks.

The DC Council is also working fast to pass emergency legislation to provide relief to local businesses. There should be a vote at the legislative meeting tomorrow at 11 am. Possible measures include delaying the real property tax collection for hotels, deferring sales taxes collection, prohibiting evictions of commercial and residential tenants, and establishing emergency grants for small businesses.

For more information from the DC government about the coronavirus crisis and response, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

We will be hosting another business community call with the Mayor’s Office on Wednesday afternoon. If you would like us to ask a question on your behalf, please email Kevin Clinton at kclinton@federalcitycouncil.org.

We will keep you updated.