McDuffie Outlines Legislation to Support District’s Residents and Economy Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Outlines Legislation to Support District’s Residents and Economy Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Legislation to be Voted on by the Council on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia will take up emergency and temporary legislation in response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 public health emergency. Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, has been working closely with the mayor, his colleagues, and the Council Chairman to ensure workers and businesses are not overwhelmed by the necessary social distancing measures being implemented across DC and the region. In helping to craft this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie has engaged constituents, small business owners, workers, and members of the hospitality and tourism industries.

“In the midst of our current public health emergency, the health and safety of residents is and should be our absolute top priority,” Councilmember McDuffie said, “the District government must use all the tools at its disposal to lessen the impact of the necessary, but extraordinary, measures that are currently being undertaken. That means making sure that workers from impacted industries are supported in this time of crisis and businesses will be able to reopen and continue operations after the public health emergency has passed. While we are in uncharted territory, the Council and the District government are doing all we can to protect the District and its residents.”

The components of the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020:

  • Prohibit evictions and the disconnection of gas, water, and electric service for the duration of the mayor’s public health emergency.
  • Expand unemployment insurance to include both workers who are quarantined, self-quarantined, or if their employer has ceased or reduced operations at the recommendation of the DC Department of Health.
  • Tax relief for business currently facing a March 31 tax payment deadline. The legislation will allow for taxes that businesses are required to remit to the District to be paid up to 90 days late without penalty.
  • Create a Public Health Emergency Grant Program for eligible small businesses. Businesses that demonstrate financial distress caused by the reduction of business as a result of the public health emergency would be eligible for grants to cover employee wages and benefits, including benefits & health insurance; operating costs of the business; and repayment of loans obtained through the United States Small Business Administration.
  • Loosening of time restrictions of prescription refills so residents can access larger quantities of their medications.

When reviewing this document, please note that, due to the rapidly evolving situation, the legislation may undergo changes between now and when it is voted on by the Council on Tuesday. View the full legislation here.