Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Leads Passage of Emergency Legislation To Direct $100 Million To Assist District Businesses In Recovery and Reopen Efforts.

As introduced this legislation prioritizes the hardest hit industries including restaurants, retail, hotels, arts and entertainment to help businesses retain workers and sustain small businesses with a focus on resident-owned and disadvantaged business owners.

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Contact: Jonathan McNair, 202-288-0714, jmcnair@dccouncil.us

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia’s Committee on Business and Economic Development, introduced the Business Support Grants Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. This legislation establishes a Business Support Grant Program to provide eligible businesses financial support to aid in their recovery from the public health emergency.  The emergency authorizes up to $100 million from the CARES Act to provide COVID-19 related relief.

As introduced, the emergency requires the Executive to establish rules that would prioritize how funds are spent across the key industry sectors and consider eligible businesses unable to open until Phase 3 or 4 in accordance with the Reopen Plan. It also includes a set aside of the fund for resident owned disadvantaged business who were less likely to be able to take advantage of PPP or other federal relief programs. Further, eligible businesses must also demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Mayor, a reduction in business revenue due to circumstances resulting from the public health emergency, showing, for an eligible business opened a year or more, financial distress of a 50% or more loss in gross receipts of sales for April, May, and June of 2020 combined compared to the gross receipts reported for the same period in 2019, or, for an eligible business opened fewer than 12 months as of the public health emergency, compared to the 3-month period preceding the public health emergency. Importantly this legislation recognizes that for many employees childcare is a pre-requisite for work, so targets grants toward the childcare industry as well.

Following this announcement, Councilmember McDuffie said:

As Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, I have continued to work around the clock to further mitigate the inevitable financial losses experienced by businesses and to provide support  in a period of uncertainty. This legislation gets cash directly into the hands of owners right away rather than some sort of tax cut that leaves businesses owners hoping to realize savings at a later date. In no uncertain terms, they’ve told us they need direct support now to help them get through this difficult time.

This legislation ensures equitable recovery by laying out a criterion for eligibility and makes recommendations of how the Mayor should prioritize how grants are disbursed to those businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  This legislation also acknowledges that for many families, work is only possible when viable childcare options are also supported.

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