Small business microgrants to be awarded in DC by the end of the month

It has been 28 days since D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) ordered all nonessential businesses in the city to close -- a decision that forced thousands of layoffs and a flood of applications for unemployment benefits.

The service industry has been hit particularly hard with hundreds of restaurants closed or forced to sell only grab and go meals.

READ MORE: DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case total

On I Street Northwest between 8th and 7th streets, the New World Cafe has a sign in the window saying: "Thanks for the support over the years. We have closed the cafe."

Apparently a casualty of the coronavirus crisis.

At Old City Crossfit on H Street Northeast, the business remains afloat thanks to loyal customers who have continued to pay their memberships while training has shifted online.

"There have been plenty of people who have had to cancel or put their membership on hold," said Manager David Drew. "We have tried to make it as seamless as possible for the clients so they are continuing to pay us their regular membership fee that they would have normally we are just interacting with them through an online system called TrueCoach".

Some members have been able to sign out equipment to use at home while others are doing virtual workouts with David Drew coaching them online.

The business has applied for financial relief through the District's microgrant program and Dew is hoping to hear soon whether they have been approved.

The mayor and the City Council set aside $25 million for the program in March with the money expected to be awarded by the end of April.

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John Falcicchio, the acting deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development, held a teletown hall with business owners on Tuesday in helping them navigate their way through the crisis.

"What we are assessing is the 7,623 applications that came into us and what we are analyzing is whether some of the applicants are eligible for unemployment insurance compensation," said Falcicchio. "If they are they will be shifted over to the unemployment insurance program so they can access the resources there which in some cases may be more readily available to them and also last over a longer period of time."

Falcicchio says the mayor's economic recovery team is now helping businesses find both local and federal resources they can tap in an effort to stay afloat.