DC fund provides grants to help businesses, workers hit by pandemic

Small businesses and workers in D.C. who are facing hardships related to the new coronavirus outbreak can get help from a program that launched Tuesday.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office announced that applications are open for the D.C. Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program, which makes grants available for workers’ wages and benefits, as well as rent and other operating expenses for businesses and nonprofits.

The program is also open to self-employed people and independent contractors. The grants run up to $25,000.

You can apply for the grants, and other programs to benefit D.C. businesses and workers hit by the public health emergency, online.

“We are all in this together, and we will get through it together,” Bowser said in a statement. “And when we get to the other side of this, our city will recover together.”

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Bowser’s office said the program will be run through the office of John Falcicchio, the acting deputy mayor for planning and economic development. He said in the statement, “This program will provide the short-term financial assistance that our local businesses will need to get through these unforeseen circumstances.”

The grant program was created through the emergency bill the D.C. Council passed last week.

In the statement issued by Bowser’s office, Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who is also the chairman of the council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development, said, “The public health emergency is causing real devastation to many small businesses and their workers. … The DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program will begin to help some of our small businesses weather this storm.”

Unemployment benefits

Bowser’s office also said the Department of Employment Services is waiving the seven-day waiting period for new unemployment claims, as well as the work-search requirement, and providing flexibility around the requirement that an applicant be able and available to work.

You can apply for unemployment on the department website.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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