The Alexandria City Council is considering steps for its COVID-19 response and recovery, including the suspension of the city’s dining tax collection.
Mayor Justin Wilson, in a Tuesday memorandum to the city manager’s office, outlined a number of measures that the city can take to mitigate the impact of the emergency.
“While only two Alexandrians have thus far received presumptive diagnoses with the virus, all public health projections indicate that many more residents will be impacted before the threat is abated,” Wilson wrote in the memo. “Further compounding this crisis is the challenge created by the necessary precautions being taken by public agencies, private employers and individuals.”
On Saturday, the council allocated $100,000 in matching emergency funds to the ACT Now COVD-19 Response Fund with a goal of raising $200,000 so that nonprofits in the city can apply for and receive grants. Council also approved an allocation of $20,000 to ALIVE! to buy bulk food equivalent to 17,000 meals. ALIVE! is currently working with the city and buying food to support the city should deliveries need to be made to people under quarantine without food reserves at home.
“We will have residents unemployed and underemployed, families experiencing food and housing insecurity, children suddenly in need of care, small businesses suffering severe degradation of revenue, and the concomitant impacts to City revenues and new demands on City expenditures,” Wilson said.
Wilson also requested revenue projections from the city manager “assuming significant degradation of consumption-based revenues.”
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Wilson suggested up to $5 million in city relief toward supporting the following actions to support human services, small businesses and municipal finances:
- Rental assistance and emergency shelters, an expansion of senior nutrition programs and support of the Alexandria City Public Schools food nutrition program
- Seeking eviction deferrals by formally requesting landlord to defer eviction actions for nonpayment of rent
- Providing funds to help staffing needs for health care delivery with the Alexandria Health Department, Neighborhood Health and Inova Alexandria Hospital
- The elimination of late fees on dining tax collection to restaurants for the remainder of the year
- $500,000 for small business micro-loans to be available in April
- Allowing restaurants to provide delivery services by-right without special use permit restrictions, and allowing restaurants to operate from their sidewalks or parking lots
- Temporary sales of alcohol off-premises
- Free Saturday parking in metered spaces
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