(Washington, DC) – Today, to mark what is traditionally National Small Business Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser visited local businesses to acknowledge the resilience and creativity of District entrepreneurs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
“Despite facing incredible hardship, many DC businesses have adapted to operate in unique ways – from making new products, to shifting to take-out and non-contact delivery models,” said Mayor Bowser. “While we know residents will be celebrating Mother’s Day at home this weekend, we hope residents can make the occasion special nonetheless by supporting their neighborhood businesses.”
The Mayor visited two long-time DC businesses – Busboys and Poets and Ben’s Chili Bowl – which have weathered previous challenges and demonstrated the integral role of small businesses in DC’s communities.
“We appreciate the Mayor’s continued support for small businesses, which are vital for not only for DC’s economy, but also the fabric of our communities,” said Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets owner. “We look forward to continuing to serve our neighbors until we can fully reopen safely.”
“We thank Mayor Bowser for her strong support of Ben's Chili Bowl and small businesses across the city, not just during the pandemic, but her continuous support and commitment to small and minority-owned businesses,” said Vidal Ali and the Ali family, owners of Ben’s Chili Bowl.
“Our DC small and local business community has done an incredible job supporting DC residents during this pandemic – much the same way they do in normal times – with amazing food, customer service, and products,” said John Falcicchio, Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “And while we stay safe at home, we can still support them by ordering take out, buying online and continuing that connection we have to our neighborhood businesses that will last long after we get through this crisis.”
In late April, Mayor Bowser announced an additional $8 million in support for the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program to expand her initial $25 million investment in the program, which was created by created by the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. The Program, housed at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), is providing relief to local small businesses for expenses such as employee wages and benefits, rent, and other operating costs. DMPED received more than 7,000 applications from small businesses, independent contractors, self-employed individuals or sole proprietors and nonprofits, and began notifying applicants April 29.
Mayor Bowser has launched the ReOpen DC Advisory Group to develop big ideas and recommendations about how we can reopen in line with DC’s values, as well as expert advice and proposed guidelines for specific sectors. Residents are encouraged to fill out the ReOpen DC Survey to provide feedback regarding reopening.