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Local and Federal Industry Updates 3/23

March 23, 2020
Dear Restaurant Community, 
As we start off what will likely be another busy week, we want to provide you with helpful updates on the local and national level that will impact your operations, employees and customers. 
The Senate and House are currently working on Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Congressional response. This will include relief for businesses, and we will send updates as we have more clarity on what will be included in the legislation. Our partners at the National Restaurant Association are aggressively advocating on our behalf to ensure the unique needs of our industry are addressed with all-size operations.  Members of the House and Senate are attempting to reach a consensus deal, however they have not been able to do so at this time. This is a quickly moving situation and we will share details of whatever legislation moves forward once we have them. It is unlikely all of our needs will be met in this Phase 3 of legislation, and there will likely be a Phase 4 to address continuing needs.
Click here to tell Congress to put restaurants first. 
District of Columbia
Mayor Bowser held a press conference today and encouraged residents to stay indoors. This is not a shelter in place directive, and restaurants continue to be open for take out and delivery. She thanked our industry and workers for adapting so quickly to new mandates while continuing to be additional food sources for our community. 
Over the weekend Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the small business recovery microgrants application process will open on Tuesday, March 24th at
  • Eligibility Criteria for Microgrant→ Business license is up to date and can demonstrate at least 25% revenue loss due to COVID-19. 
  • Core Items to Prepare Before Applying for Microgrant→ 2017 & 2018 tax returns (personal returns are available if business returns are not), 2019 Profit & Loss Statement, Schedule of Liabilities
An Executive Order has been enacted by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, which closes all non-essential businesses, organizations, and facilities in Maryland effective at 5pm today. Restaurants are considered essential businesses for take out and delivery service. The Governor did NOT issue a shelter-in-place directive at this point. 
Maryland is taking aggressive steps to support the local small businesses community and its workers. Read below for more details. 
  • There is no wait time for Unemployment Insurance, and it has been expanded to include: employees who have not been terminated, but restaurant (employer) have closed because of COVD-19 and the work search requirement has also been waived. Click here to apply. 
  • COVID-19 Lay-Off Aversion Loan Fund→Maryland small businesses can apply for up to $50k in flexible funding to continue operations and keep staff on payroll. These funds are available immediately. Visit here to apply. 
  • Deploying $40 million through currently existing commerce and finance programs to target assistance for small businesses and to help them preserve jobs of employees.
  • Establishing $75 million Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund→ Low interest loans to businesses with fewer than 50 employees at 0% interest rates and covers regular operating expenses. Stay tuned for application information. 
  • Establishing $50 million Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund→ Provides grants of up to $10k for businesses with 50 or fewer employees who have lost revenue. Provide working capital to cover normal expenses incurred during operation. Stay tuned for application information. 
Today, Governor Northam provided an Executive Order that goes into effect at midnight that prohibits on premise dining, but allows restaurants to remain open for carry-out, curbside, and delivery only. Governor Northam noted that essential businesses will remain open. Establishments such as banks, grocery stores, and hardware stores are accessible but these businesses have a responsibility to maintain proper social distancing policies. Click here for the full Executive Order. 
In Virginia, unemployment insurance is regulated by the Federal Government, and the Governor is working with the Federal Government to find flexibility.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.