(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) launched the application for the $29.5 million Entertainment Bridge Fund, which will provide grants ranging between $10,000-$250,000 for entertainment venues grappling with the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Entertainment Bridge Fund is part of The Bridge Fund, a $100 million initiative aimed at providing financial relief to the hotel, restaurant, retail, and entertainment sectors.
“Our live entertainment venues were the first businesses impacted at the beginning of the pandemic, and likely will be the last back,” said Mayor Bowser. “These businesses, which are at the very heart our local culture and sound, have made tremendous sacrifices to keep our residents safe. The Entertainment Bridge Fund aims to provide them with support to ensure they can make it to the other side when we can gather again safely.”
Earlier this year, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the “Business Support Grants Emergency Amendment Act of 2020,” which authorized up to $100 million from the federal CARES Act to provide COVID-19 related relief to businesses. In November, Mayor Bowser announced The Bridge Fund to strategically invest in businesses and employees in the hospitality, restaurant, entertainment, and retail sectors to help mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses. The District has begun accepting applications for the $30 million Hotel Bridge Fund, the $35 million Restaurant Bridge Fund, and the $15 million Retail Bridge Fund.
“Our entertainment venues were the first to close as we worked to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “As the District moves closer to getting back to normal, our hope is that the Entertainment Bridge Fund will help some of our hardest hit entrepreneurs and workers get to the other side of the pandemic.”
The Entertainment Bridge Fund will consist of two programs, the Venues Program and the Supporting Business Program. The Venues Program will provide funding to venues that have either temporarily suspended operations since the public health emergency or have been able to operate at a minimal capacity. This program will help sustain businesses that host numerous and diverse experiences for District residents and visitors to enjoy. The Support Businesses Program, expected to launch in January 2021, will provide funding to businesses in the entertainment industry that rely on live events and tourism to be able to operate.
Eligible businesses for the Venues Program include live music venues and concert halls, bars, nightclubs, billiard parlors, movie theaters, bowling alleys, private museums, skating rinks, theaters, arenas, performance and event venues, as well as specialty experience venues. Businesses that either receive dedicated tax revenue or are permanently closed are not eligible for the fund. Award decisions will be based on core operational expenses, revenue, and tenure.
>DMPED will discuss the Entertainment Bridge Fund during its Recovery Weekly Check-In on Tuesday, December 22, at 4:00 p.m. on Channel 16 (DCN) and streaming on Twitter and Facebook. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend either of two information sessions scheduled to take place the last week of December. The registration link for the information sessions can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov/bridgefund. The application deadline for the Entertainment Bridge Fund is Monday, January 11, 2021.
Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began in March, the District has made available more than $45 million to support small and local businesses and nonprofits through various funding opportunities, including the DC Small Business Microgrant Program, the Ward 7 and 8 Microgrant Program, the Small Business Resiliency Fund, DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund, the Legacy Business Supplemental Microgrant Program, and the Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program (in partnership with Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture). For more information on the Bridge Fund, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/bridgefund.