On Monday, Mayor Bowser signed the “Business Support Grants Emergency Amendment Act of 2020“; the bill was returned to DC Council earlier today. The bill, introduced by Councilmembers Allen and McDuffie, passed by the Council of DC three weeks ago and sent to the Mayor’s office two weeks ago, can provide some help to DC businesses affected by COVID-19 and the restrictions in place to slow the spread.
This new Business Support Grant program authorizes (but does not require) DC to spend up to $100 million in CARES Act funds for grants to certain DC businesses. [UPDATE: Mayor’s chief of staff/Deputy Mayor told me that currently DC doesn’t have the CARES Act money to fund these grants. It is contingent on Congress restoring the $750 million it shortchanged DC in original CARES Act money.]
Like the $25 million Public Health Emergency Grant program from March/April, this program authorizes the Mayor to issue a grant to affected business who apply for a grant.
Eligible businesses include:
- Entertainment venues
- Food trucks and carts
- Sports & recreation venues
- Art galleries
- Child care center/daycare
- Hospitality-related retail, including any business that “derives at least 80% of its revenue from sales of merchandise, food, beverages, accommodation services, ticket sales, advertising, media, or sponsorship, or a combination of the foregoing”
The law’s criteria requires that the business show:
- 50% or more loss in gross receipts of sales in April 1 – June 30, 2020 compared to same period in 2019 OR
- For new businesses that opened after March 11, 2019, a 50% or more loss in gross receipts from 3 months before March 11, 2020.
A grant would be up to 15% of the lost revenue for the business during that time period (though it cannot exceed a single month in 2019). Grant can be used for costs related for:
- complying with the demands of the public health emergency;
- accommodating the emergency business environment; or
- any other reason determined by Mayor to likely spur economic recovery
12.5% of grant funds are set aside for DC resident small businesses that are economically-disadvantaged individual or woman owned.
The Mayor is required to consider prioritizing those businesses closed due to public health emergency and unable to open until Phases 3 or 4 of ReOpenDC Plan as follows: Restaurants (38%), Hotels (28%), Retail (14.5%), Sports/entertainment sectors (14.5%), and Child care facilities (5%).
Landlords can also apply for grant for rental income leased to an eligible business if they’ve abated (i.e., waived) some amount of rent to the tenant. They would be eligible for essentially a grant to cover half of their lost rent.
The list of grant recipients must be published online by December 1st.
If this grant program goes like the one in March, applications will be due in mid August with funds disbursed in late September.
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