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It’s been about a month since our beloved restaurants and bars closed to on-premise consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit. Take-out can’t replace in-house dining, and yet some restaurants are still expected to pay rent, along with other expenses. Restaurants are banking on financial aid to come through, including from D.C.’s microgrant program, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The latter two options ran out of funding on Thursday, making money slow to come, if at all. 

“I haven’t seen a penny from anyone yet,” Dupont’s Floriana owner, Jamie Branda, tells City Paper’s Laura Hayes. “I literally don’t know a single owner in the industry who has received a penny either locally or federally.” 

Meanwhile, workers—from chefs to bartenders—are dependent on unemployment insurance to cover the cost of groceries and rent, a maximum check of $444 per week. Applying for unemployment has been a nightmare, as the Department of Employment Services’ dated system struggles to keep up with the 70,069 claims residents have filed. 

“When’s the money going to come in? Sleep is a luxury that I can’t even have at this point because stress is mounting. Bills are coming in. There’s been no relief at this point. It’s frustrating,” says bartender Jeremy Wetmore

Read how restaurants and their workers are holding up in Hayes’ two-part series. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • In Monday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser said DC Jail enhancements include daily showers for persons in isolation and providing free and telephonic access to counsel. Over the weekend, a federal court ordered the Department of Corrections to immediately improve conditions at DC Jail as the agency’s response to the pandemic has proven inadequate thus far. Director Clinton Lacey is now monitoring the execution at DC Jail, along with Saint Elizabeths Hospital. [Twitter]

  • The District announced 19 more deaths related to the pandemic between Friday and Sunday. All but two of the individuals whose deaths were reported over the weekend were African American. As of April 19, at least 105 D.C. residents have died due to COVID-19. The D.C. government also released ward breakdown related to deaths in addition to race: Ward 8 saw the highest number of deaths at 22, while Ward 2 saw the lowest at 1. So far 2,927 have tested positive for COVID-19, while 14,113 have tested overall. [EOM]  

  • In a new Senate proposal, D.C. would be treated as a state and receive at least $1.25 billion after being shortchanged in the last federal aid package. [Bloomberg]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White says his grandmother died due to COVID-19. [WCP]

  • Science should drive reopening strategy, but business and labor groups disagree on competing interests. Former D.C. Mayor Tony Williams urges moving “toward reopening some part of the economy.”  [Post]

  • AG Karl Racine endorses Ed Lazere for an at-large Council seat. [Twitter]

  • Post editorial board applauds the launch of Racine’s public corruption division. [Post]

  • How to watch the D.C. Council’s second virtual legislative meeting. [D.C. Council]

  • The Washington Blade is hosting a Ward 2 candidate forum April 30. [Blade]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Columbia Room launches a sandwich pop-up that helps hospital workers. [Washingtonian]

  • A new restaurant is planning to open in the Las Placitas space on 14th Street NW. [PoPville]

  • Why COVID-19 will hit black-owned businesses harder. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Sorry We Missed You is a brilliant take on working class anxiety. [WCP]

  • Artist Robin Bell is projecting memorials to those who have died from COVID-19 on D.C. walls. [Washingtonian]

  • Self-isolating singles are getting into the virtual dating shows popping up in D.C. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The defending WNBA champion Washington Mystics won Friday night’s WNBA Draft even before it began, writes City Paper contributor Lindsay Gibbs. ESPN ranks the Mystics No. 1 in its first post-draft power rankings. [WCP, ESPN]

  • Maryland native and the potential draft pick for the Washington NFL team Chase Young counts LeBron James among his mentors. [247Sports

  • John Wall isn’t playing when or if the NBA season returns this year. [RotoWire]

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis reflects on his time with Michael Jordan. [Ted’s Take]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

We’re bringing you the best things to watch, read, make, and do from the comfort of your home while social distancing.

  • Curious about K-pop?Mia Steinle’s offering a free crash course through her newsletter.

  • The National Museum of Asian Art was going to screen Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees, but those plans were scrapped. You can still watch it on the Criterion Collection, however.

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