Dear Eastern Market Main Street Community,
Last week, Mayor Bowser extended the District's Stay-At-Home order through June 8, 2020. Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask or face covering anytime you leave your home, and stay home as much as possible. ReOpen DC is about working together as a community to reopen Washington, DC in a way that is safe and sustainable. While we await guidance on the reopening of businesses and the community, here is some information we thought would be useful to share:
1. Additional Micro-Grant Funding - Applications Open on May 20: Mayor Bowser has announced that another round of micro-grant funding will become available this week. The application will be open from May 20 – May 29. If you did not receive a grant in the first round, I encourage you to apply. Information related to this grant will be on the coronavirus.dc.gov website.
2. Educational and Academic Retail Stores (EARS) Pilot Program: Also last week, the Mayor announced an Educational and Academic Retail Stores pilot program to grant waivers for curbside and front door pickup, and the application is now open: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/ears
Locally owned businesses eligible to apply fall include:
· Book Stores
· Art Supply Stores
· Music Shops
· Toy Stores
· Office Supply Stores
**New** Card shops, florists and sundries are now invited to apply for the EARS waiver.
Businesses will be expected to share an operational plan exhibiting how they will be able to safely operate curbside and front door activity. And, in order to help guide further economic reopening decisions, EARS Pilot businesses will be asked to share data about sales, hours, adjustments to their business operations, and what did and what didn't work with this method of operation.
3. DC City Council Considers Expanding Patio Dining: Based on news reports and discussions with the District Small and Local Businesses Department (DSLBD), we are aware of a legislative initiative that would allow restaurants to expand their patio seating; and may include street closures to allow for social distancing. It is important to let our Councilmember, Charles Allen, know where you stand on this legislation.
4. Three Ways to Engage with the Council on the FY21 Budget: This week, the Council will receive a draft budget from the Mayor and begin holding Budget Oversight Hearings. Council committees are each taking written testimony as well as allowing residents to call a phone line and leave testimony, which will be transcribed and included in the official record. Additionally, there will be limited opportunities to testify before committee hearings held via videoconference. Check the Council website for the full schedule of hearings and additional details for each committee.
The Council Committee on Business and Economic Development, chaired by Councilmember McDuffie, oversees the DC Main Streets budget; and will receive input from the public through multiple channels:
· Written Testimony shall be submitted by emailing the document to BusinessEconomicDevelopment@dccouncil.us.
· Written testimony must be submitted as instructed above by June 3, 2020, 5:00 pm, to be included in the record.
· Public witness testimony will not be accepted after that date.
Transcribed Oral Testimony:
· Call (202) 430-5122.
· When prompted, read your testimony (speak slowly and clearly).
· You may provide up to three minutes of testimony.
· Your testimony will be transcribed and made a part of the record.
· At the beginning of the message please state your name, spell your name, the agency you are testifying on, provide the name of the organization you are representing (if any), and then begin your testimony.
Live Testimony via Videoconference Hearing:
· The hearing will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, June 16 from 9:00 am – Noon. As with all Council hearings, it will be streamed live on the Council website and broadcast on DC cable channel 13.
· Public witnesses are required to complete the witness form linked from here. The form to sign up for the virtual hearing will open on June 10, 2020, at 9:00 am and close on June 12, 2020, at 5:00 pm.
· Participation in the virtual hearing is limited, and participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Each public witness will receive a maximum of three minutes to testify, and each organization is limited to one testimony at the virtual hearing.
· Witnesses that completed the form on May 11-12 will carry over to the new witness list.
· Public witnesses selected to participate in the virtual hearing will receive additional instructions from the Committee on Business and Economic Development.
· These hearings are official proceedings of the Council of the District of Columbia, and public witnesses who will appear live in a virtual hearing must conduct themselves respectfully and are subject to removal for using profane, indecent, or abusive language or images.
The Staff and Board of Directors at Eastern Market Main Street understand that these are challenging times. We will continue to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. And we are available for one-on-one counseling as you make decisions about the future of your businesses. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Stay Strong. Stay Safe.
Executive Director, Eastern Market Main Street