coronavirus

There is help for D.C.-area businesses struggling in the coronavirus pandemic. Here is your guide.

These are uncertain times for Greater Washington business, as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread rampantly throughout our region. As its effects grow — thousands of people losing their jobs and many others setting up at home offices — state and local leaders, nonprofits and corporations are stepping up with support of varying types, from emergency loans and grants to counseling and resource guides, free access to services and the basic necessities of life.

The Washington Business Journal is compiling a list of these resources to support our region’s business community. Here, you will find a rundown of state and local support, as well as programs and initiatives from businesses and nonprofits across Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District.

Keep checking back as this list will only grow. If you have something we should add, please email mneibauer@bizjournals.com.


Virginia

  • Gov. Ralph Northam is authorizing “rapid response funding” through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to support employers eligible to remain open during the public health emergency. The fund may be used to clean facilities or support emergency needs. More info to come.
  • Virginia businesses can request to defer the payment of state sales tax for 30 days. The tax was due March 20. As long as businesses file by April 20, all penalties will be waived.
  • The filing deadline for corporate and individual income taxes has not changed, but the due date has been moved to June 1. Visit tax.virginia.gov for more information.
  • The Virginia ABC has waived regulations to allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine via take-out and delivery, and to allow licensees to get refunded for product they return to a wholesaler.
  • The State Corporation Commission has ordered utilities — electric, natural gas, water, etc. — to suspend service disconnections for 60 days.
  • The Virginia Supreme Court suspended non-emergency evictions, including any new eviction cases related to tenants’ inability to pay rent due to COVID-19.
  • Northam signed an executive order giving hospitals and nursing homes the ability to increase bed capacity without a certificate of public need.

Maryland

  • The Maryland Department of Labor has established a $7 million COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. The fund will provide up to $50,000 per business for any number of uses, among then purchasing remote access equipment and software, covering the costs of cleaning and sanitation services, paying for liability insurance for restaurants and providing fund for training and professional development. More info here.
  • Maryland has authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers. That includes a $75 million for-profit business loan fund, a $50 million grant program to support businesses and nonprofits with up to $10,000 apiece, and a $5 million program to incentivize Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment.
  • Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order prohibiting Maryland courts from ordering the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was a result of COVID-19 — lost or reduced employment, for example, or needing to care for a school-aged child.
  • Per another executive order, all Maryland licenses, permits, registrations and other state authorizations that would expire during the state of emergency will be extended until the 30th day after the emergency is lifted.

D.C.

  • The District has established a $25 million fund to provide small businesses with recovery microgrants. Applications and regulations are now available at coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery.
  • D.C. is tracking unemployment claims and making the numbers public. As of March 22, there were 17,281 new claims just in the last 10 days.
  • Any D.C. business license, professional and occupational license, or vending license that expires during the declared emergency will be considered valid, and license holders will have 45 days after the emergency is over to renew. Online renewal is available.
  • D.C. corporate customers filing 2020 biennial reports or trade name renewals between April 2 and June 1 will not incur a late filing fee.
  • Swahili Village at 1990 M St. NW just opened earlier this month, and then had to shut down its dining room a few days later. While it continues to offer curbside pickup and delivery via various services, the Kenyan restaurant has also established the Swahili Cares Initiative, to provide 50 free lunches to essential D.C. workers. Call first, 202-692-2353, then pick it up. The offer is available through March 27 for health care professionals, law enforcement, firefighters, military personnel and journalists.
  • Knead Hospitality + Design’s Succotash restaurant in Penn Quarter is serving as a restaurant and hospitality industry relief center nightly from 5 to 8 p.m. Laid-off employees whose jobs are affected by the outbreak can retrieve up to two meals, as well as essentials and other items, by showing a pay stub.
  • Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Knead Hospitality have partnered to launch Food it Forward. The program allows the public to purchase meals packaged by local restaurants, which are then distributed to those in need by nonprofit Martha’s Table.

Northern Virginia

  • Northern Virginia Family Service started up an emergency financial assistance channel where those in need can submit an online application or call 571-748-2552 for help with food, shelter, diapers and wipes, and financial support. Supporters can donate here.
  • Fairfax County put together this guide to support your mental and physical health.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools has put together this list of community-based, Northern Virginia organizations that need donations.
  • Loudoun County has developed interim guidance for local employers.
  • Loudoun’s Department of Economic Development has developed a COVID-19 website with links to business resources and assistance.
  • BizLaunch is also offering virtual strategizing sessions with small business experts to strategize next steps. Click here to schedule an appointment.
  • Alexandria has placed a moratorium on the collection of the 5% meals tax from roughly 490 restaurants and grocery stores, delayed collection of the 6.5% transient lodging tax and $1.25 per night hotel tax, and extended the filing date of business personal property taxes from May 1 to July 1.
  • The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce will host a three-part, free webinar series March 26 to provide its members and the business community with best practices and insights. Register for Growing Through Challenges When Remote.
  • 4P Foods, a food hub backed by the PATH Foundation, will host a free Taco Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and hand out 500 hot meals through a drive-thru to anyone who pulls up to the Lord Fairfax Community College parking lot in Warrenton. It will be based on a pay-what-you-can model and anyone who pays the $10 will help fund meals for others.
  • The Alexandria/Arlington Emergency Layoff Aversion Assistance Program will award 11 grants to small businesses who require financial aid to retain their workforce. Participating businesses should have 250 or fewer employees. Application requests should not exceed $7,500, and small requests are encouraged. Decisions will be made by 5 p.m. on March 30. Click here for an application.

Suburban Maryland

  • The Montgomery County Volunteer Center has put together a guide for prospective volunteers and donations to support area community organizations.
  • Visit Montgomery has established an online restaurant directory called MoCo Eats to highlight various establishments pick-up, delivery and beer and wine offerings. Add your establishment to the list, here.
  • Similarly, this is a list of some 50 downtown Silver Spring restaurants that remain open.
  • The Montgomery County Council is expected to establish a $20 million Public Health Emergency Grant Program, which will provide up to $75,000 per business or nonprofit that can demonstrate financial losses caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The fund will be accessible to businesses with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. More info on how to apply to come.
  • Prince George’s County is “in the process of establishing a COVID-19 Business Impact Fund,” to be funded with county, state and private dollars, according to County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. More info to come.

Regionwide

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering businesses in designated states (Maryland, D.C. and Virginia have met the criteria) low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million for working capital. Learn more here.
  • Chef José Andrés’ restaurant group, ThinkFoodGroup, and nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, are providing carryout meals for those in need out of several of TFG’s restaurants, including Jaleo in Penn Quarter, Crystal City and Bethesda, Zaytinya in Chinatown and America Eats Tavern in Georgetown.
  • London-based SHL, a talent innovation company, is providing free access to its virtual solutions suite during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes AI-scored recorded video interviews, live video interviews, coding interviews and a virtual assessment and development center.
  • With so many classrooms now virtual, Lingvist is offering its online platform of language learning tools for free until July 31. That includes a vocabulary learning tool, the Lingvist Classroom, Course Wizard and a Blended Learning Guide. Click here for more info.
  • The Recording Academy and its affiliated charity, MusiCares, have established a COVID-19 relief fund to support members of the music community affected by the pandemic. You can donate or apply for assistance here.
  • The Arts Administrators of Color Network has set up the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund to support black, indigenous and people of color artists and administrators, which includes consultants, facilitators, box office staff and seasonal employees. Click here to donate or access the application form.
  • McLean’s ID.me has unveiled a real-time Slack collaboration workplace, through which accredited health care providers can share information and ask each other questions about COVID-19. Accredited providers can join the Slack channel at no cost after completing an online enrollment at covid.slack.com. ID.me provides secure identity proofing, authentication and group affiliate verification for government and business.
  • The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland will offer pro bono consultations to any U.S.-based nonprofits arts or culture organization between now and June, the institute announced. Interested organizations just need to fill out a three-question survey to get help.
  • South African restaurant chain Nando’s said it will keep its restaurants open for an additional two weeks and will provide hot, catered meals to hospitals near its 92 locations. Also the company will provide free Nando’s takeout to any nurse, doctor or healthcare worker who shows up at a Nando’s restaurant in uniform or with a valid healthcare ID, or calls to request a delivery order.
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