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Updates in DC, MD and VA -- April 13

April 13, 2020
Dear Operator,
We know you are working hard to keep your community safe, to feed your neighbors and patrons if you are still open, and to support your employees in many creative ways. A study conducted by CARAVAN found that 85% of people surveyed miss going to restaurants--this is second only to missing family members. This tells us what we already know, that restaurants are a valued part of everyone’s daily lives. 
While we currently have stay at home orders in place across the region, we have also been in discussion with local and regional leaders and other State Restaurant Association Executives around what “back to business” may look like for essential and non essential businesses. Understanding that there may be a phased in approach, we are in conversation about what the next stage will look like as it will require a great deal of preparation. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam indicated that there will be a coordinated reopening plan among regional leaders and jurisdictions for DC, MD and VA.  
DC Updates
Restaurants are playing an essential role supporting our region, while also keeping everyone safe, and today our industry was commended during Mayor Bowser’s press conference for placing public safety first and for strictly adhering to Orders in shifting operational practices. Also, during today’s press conference Mayor Bowser mentioned it is likely the Orders will extend beyond 4/24, however a determination has not been made and will likely not be made until at least a week before the 4/24 end date. As we approach the end of this week, we are also hoping to have more updates about the Microgrant. We will keep you posted as we know more on all of these fronts. 
DC’s Coronavirus website has more helpful information for individuals applying for UI, and in search of more information on Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Click here for more information.
Virginia Updates
Governor Northam is proposing a relief fund to help get back small businesses back on their feet as well as to provide support to nursing homes, Virginians looking for employment, individuals with rent and mortgage issues, and people experiencing homelessness. It will be funded through a tax on electronic skill games and is projected to generate more than $150 million a year for the new fund. The General Assembly can vote to approve this when they return to Richmond on April 22 for the re-convene session.
Prince Georges County Relief Fund is Now Open for Applications 
The Prince George’s County COVID19 Business Relief Fund is a $15M fund established to provide financial assistance to businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Relief Fund can be used to support cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other business critical cash operating costs. Click here to apply today. The deadline to apply is May 15th. 
Montgomery County Grant
On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council will introduce a $5 million special appropriation to expand funding for the County's newly created Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) program to provide financial assistance to local restaurants and retail shops that are struggling to survive because of the Covid-19 pandemic. All Councilmembers are sponsoring this special appropriation.
Under the PHEG program, businesses with 100 employees or less that are suffering economic impacts from Covid-19 are eligible to receive grants of up to $75,000 per business. This special appropriation is in addition to the $5 million reserved for local restaurants and storefront retail operations as part of the original $20 million appropriation by the Council to create the PHEG program through the County’s Economic Development Fund. Grant applications are not open yet, but click here to find out more on how to apply. 
It looks like this week might bring more clarity on social distancing orders as well as grant and loan funding. We will share all new information with you as it becomes available. 
Stay safe. Stay kind. 
Kathy Hollinger | President and CEO
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington