Georgetown Almost a Ghost Town; D.C. Shuts Down Nonessential Businesses

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Georgetown's famous intersection of Wisconsin and M at midday on March 26. Georgetowner photo.

Last night, by order of the D.C. government, nonessential businesses throughout the city shut their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The effects of the economic shutdown were on full display the next day.

Georgetown’s commercial district is devastated as few people walk the empty sidewalks. In the residential areas, things are active with children in strollers, dogs being walked and tennis players enjoying the sunshine. Even parking on the east side streets appeared tight, while the west side of Georgetown near the university offered abundant parking.

Places likes barber shops and small clothing stores enjoyed a last bit of revenue from their customers until the shutdown is lifted. Some can continue online; others cannot.

In the directive, effective 10 p.m., March 25, Mayor Muriel Bowser noted that gatherings of more than 10 persons was prohibited. So, what’s left open? The following are considered essential businesses.

— Auto repair shops

— Banks

— Cable, phone and Internet providers

— Child-care

— Dry cleaners and laundromats

— Electricians, HVAC, plumbers

— Grocery stores and convenience stores (some farmers markets)

— Hardware, building supplies

— Hospitals and nursing homes

— Liquor stores

— Pet stores

— Pharmacies

— Restaurants, taverns and fast-food places that takeout and delivery

— Rock Creek Park (in D.C.)

(The Georgetowner will check to see if newspapers are part of that list — which they should be.)

There are programs set to assist local businesses in Georgetown and around D.C. Here’s one of them.

This week, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched the application process for a new $25-million microgrant program to provide relief to local small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The mayor and the District Council are investing $25 million in the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program, which will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The microgrants will be available to businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors or self-employed individuals. These grants of up to $25,000 will provide financial support for expenses such as employee wages and benefits, rent and other operating costs.

For more information and to apply, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/dc-small-business-recovery-grants

The application deadline is 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31.

Dwayne of the Georgetown Business Improvement District’s Clean Team on K Street at the waterfront. Georgetowner photo
Looking south from P Street on Wisconsin Avenue. Georgetowner photo.
Tennis players were active during the sunny day. Georgetowner photo.
A woman waves at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street NW. Georgetowner photo.
The safety alert sent by D.C. government around 8 p.m., March 25.
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