Brooke's Briefing: Happy Hanukkah, COVID Updates, New Small Biz Grants, Tenant Survey, DC EdFest

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
December 10, 2020

Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Ward 2

Opening Remarks


This week, the District Government shared major announcements regarding our citywide COVID recovery efforts and response, including one-time stimulus payments for residents who are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the opening of the Restaurant Bridge Fund applications, and the suspension of recreational sports and activities. More information about these changes can be found in the “COVID-19 Updates and Resources” section below.

We are also gearing up for the final legislative meeting of the year, which is set to take place this coming Tuesday, December 15. At that time, the Council will vote to pass outstanding measures regarding public safety, criminal justice reform, and environmental sustainability into law. The agenda has not yet been finalized or published, but there are details in our “Legislative Update” section that will help you stay informed.

This Saturday I will be supporting our local businesses at the Downtown Holiday Market and on Wednesday I will be attending the Rose Park Holiday Market at 3 p.m. I encourage you all to support our local businesses this holiday season, but remember that health and safety come first. If you do venture out of the home, don’t forget to wear a mask, avoid large crowds, and remain at a safe distance from others.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone celebrating Hannukah this week a very happy holiday! As I reflect on the hope that Hannukah represents, I feel hopeful for the health and recovery of our community in the new year.

Don’t forget that my office is here to help. If you need us, please complete a request form at

Yours in Service,


Pinto in the Press

In case you missed Councilmember Pinto in the press last week, she took time to speak with Metro Weekly Newspaper about the “Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment of 2020”, which will ban the use of the LGBTQ panic defense in a court of law and deter hate crimes in the District. Councilmember Pinto also spoke with the Georgetown Hoya about her plans to help sustain COVID-recovery, supporting workers and small businesses, and continuing to advance criminal justice reform in the upcoming council period. To read the full articles, click the links below.

In the Community

National Children’s Museum: Ward 2 is home to several museums, and the National Children’s Museum is the next on set to open! Last Friday, Councilmember Pinto took a tour of the museum to get a better understanding of the programming that will be provided to patrons and celebrate the forthcoming opening of this socially and academically enriching space.

Celebrating the Holidays in Ward 2: Last weekend, Councilmember Pinto celebrated the holidays with local vendors and shoppers at the Historic Dupont Main Streets’ fourth annual holiday pop-up and the Downtown DC Holiday Market hosted by the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District. Councilmember Pinto would like to encourage everyone to shop small and shop local this holiday season. Many retailers have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and need help getting back on their feet. If shopping in-person, don’t forget to wear a mask and follow public health guidance.  

Meeting the Women of the Council of the District of Columbia:

This week, Councilmember Pinto joined the Council for Court Excellence for a panel discussion entitled "Justice on the Agenda: New Council Members' Goals for 2021" alongside Councilmembers-Elect Christina Henderson (At-Large) and Janeese Lewis George (Ward 4). During the discussion, Councilmember Pinto talked in detail about her commitment to helping reform the District's criminal justice system and the importance of keeping our communities engaged and informed on matters pertaining to our legal and justice systems.

Councilmember also joined the Councilmembers-Elect, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau for a live recording of the Ask Rayceen Show. During the discussion, the women of the Council engaged host and activist Rayceen Pendarvis in a conversation about the new female majority that will be seated on the Council beginning in January 2021 and how this change in demographic would impact District residents. There was also discussion on the members' goals for the upcoming year. The recording will be broadcasted within the next two weeks, and we will be sure to share it with you all (thank you to Councilmember Silverman for capturing the moment).

After the recording, Councilmember Pinto also took time to congratulate the new members being sworn into the Metropolitan Women's Democratic Club (MWDC), an organization committed to supporting women dedicated to improving communities through civic and political participation.

Legislative Update

The Committee on Transportation and the Environment: This week, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment held a public hearing to discuss B23-922, the “Public Tree Protection and Canopy Expansion Amendment Act of 2020” and B23-987, the “Green Food Purchasing Amendment Act of 2020.”

B23-922, the “Public Tree Protection and Canopy Expansion Amendment Act of 2020” establishes provisions that would prohibit District government, boards and commissions, and public utilities from destroying or removing heritage or special trees unless the tree is certified hazardous or appropriate for removal, or the entity provides effected ANCs and the Ward councilmembers with 30 days’ notice of their intent to remove the tree. The legislation also requires that the entity either plant a certain number of trees for each heritage or special tree removed or make a donation to the Tree Fund that would cover the costs of planting those trees.

B23-987, the “Green Food Purchasing Amendment Act of 2020” requires the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to adopt a methodology to estimate greenhouse gas emissions that occur through the life cycle of foods and beverages, establish a baseline measurement of emissions associated with the District’s food and beverage purchases, and set targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with food and beverage purchases. B23-987 will also require that DOEE prepares a report on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with District procurement.

Additional Legislative Meeting Next Week: On Tuesday, December 15, the Council of the District of Columbia will hold an additional legislative meeting to conduct final votes on outstanding legislation. This meeting is the final legislative meeting of council period 23; all bills that do not pass a final vote during this meeting will “expire” and must be re-introduced next council period. Please stay tuned for a full list of legislative measures being considered during the final meeting of council period.

An announcement of the additional legislative meeting and the draft legislative agenda will be posted on the Council calendar no later than Monday afternoon and can be viewed by clicking here.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

The Restaurant Bridge Fund Application Is Open: This week, the restaurant applications for the Bridge Fund opened. $35 million is being provided by the District Government for operational expenses such as rent, payroll, insurance, COVID-10 related supplies, fuel, and utilities. At least 700 grants for eligible businesses will be awarded.

The Bridge Fund also supports businesses in the entertainment, hospitality, and retail sectors. For more information, visit:

Stimulus Payment: As the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is set to end at the end of this year, the District Government has announced that it will be providing $1,200 one-time stimulus checks to District residents currently receiving PUA.

Housing: This week, Mayor Bowser also announced $10 Million in Housing Stabilization Grants to support the District's affordable & small housing providers. Rent arrears from April 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020, will be paid by the city to housing providers in an 80:20 split with the District contributing 80% of the rent, up to $2,000 per unit per month, and the housing provider forgiving the rest. Applications opened on December 1, will close on December 11, and will be assessed on a rolling basis. The Coronavirus Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) will also begin accepting applications in January. For more information, visit



Ban on Sports: Beginning Friday, December 11, a new order will limit recreational activities in the District of Columbia. This includes high-contact sports, high-school sports and competitions, youth sports, physical education, and permits issued by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Residents can stay tuned to for full guidance.  

Testing: All residents who intend on getting tested for COVID-19 are asked to pre-register at Here are today's testing sites. Save time by pre-registering at

Insurance information is now being collected from those who have health insurance. Please provide your insurance information when you pre-register online, and you will not need to show your insurance card at the site; you will not be charged a copay. Testing remains free, and those without insurance or proof of insurance will not be turned away or denied testing. However, by providing your insurance information, you can help the District preserve resources and allow for them to be allocated to other COVID response and recovery efforts.

Please remember that testing sites are shared daily and that Firehouse testing sites will continue to operate from noon until 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Nationals Park is now open as a new testing site, Monday through Friday, from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. You can get tested in the GEICO Garage (located at 16 N Street S.E.).

An Update on Vaccine Distribution: The District of Columbia has 176 provider agreements with hospitals, pharmacies, long-term care clinics, urgent care centers, and other health care facilities to allow providers at those locations to order and administer the COVID-19 vaccine in our city. After the Pfizer vaccine receives Emergency Use Authorization, The Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) must issue recommendations for vaccine distribution. Vaccinators must also be fully trained.

The District has announced that six sites with the necessary equipment to store the Pfizer vaccine will receive DC’s initial allotment, consisting of over 6,000 doses, and will partner with healthcare providers across the city to distribute the vaccine. These sites include Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Howard University Hospital, The George Washington University Hospital, Children’s National Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

The vaccine will be distributed in phases and first distributed to included in Phase 1A. You can see more information in the chart provided below, and for the latest information, please continue to visit:  


The pandemic has affected all of us – individuals, families, and children – and, as the public health emergency continues, addressing the mental health challenges that are so pervasive right now remains a top priority for the District.

Councilmember Brooke Pinto is bringing together the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and Children’s National Hospital for a Ward 2 community meeting on mental health.

This community discussion will review some of the special challenges presented over the last several months, as well as resources that are available to residents to address mental health concerns. Councilmember Pinto will also share how the FY21 budget supports mental health care.

“This has been a challenging year for so many, and it is very important that we not only share resources with our neighbors but that we let them know they are not alone and that we are in this together,” explained Councilmember Pinto.

Please sign up to join us here:

Traffic Advisory and Public Road Closures Expected This Weekend Due to Planned MAGA March in the District of Columbia: This Saturday, MAGA protestors are expected to hold another protest and rally in the downtown area. Please be mindful of the road closures and traffic advisory shared by the Metropolitan Police Department here. These changes are in effect from Friday, December 11, 2020 through Sunday, December 13, 2020.

For the first time, My School DC will host the annual Ed Fest online! Students and families will have the opportunity to explore 200+ DC public school and DC public charter school options, connect directly with school representatives, and learn about the school lottery process from their homes. To register, visit:

Robust Citywide Retail Grant Now Available: The Department on Small and Local Business Development has announced the opening of the Robust Citywide Retail Grants applications. This year, the District government intends to award up to $7,500 per business to 106 businesses from the total $800,000. Applications close on January, 28, 2021. For more information, click here.

Survey on Tenant Rental Security Deposits: The DC Office of the Tenant Advocate has distributed a survey to learn about tenants' experiences with security deposits and understand how they have impacted access to rental housing across the District of Columbia.

Please complete and share the survey which can be found here.

New Mobile App for Contact Tracing Available for Android and iPhone Users: DC Health has launched a voluntary app that will notify those who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. All iPhone users who have completed the latest operating system upgrade do not need to download any applications, however. After completing the update, iPhone users can visit the general settings tab labeled "Exposure Notifications" and set up alerts. All Android users will need to download the DC CAN app and follow the prompts. Everyone is encouraged to use a notification system to aid contract tracing efforts and help to reduce the spread of the virus. For more information on the new mobile app, visit

The Department of Parks and Recreation Wants to Hear from You: The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is undergoing the process to rewrite its Master Plan, a document that will look holistically at all parks and recreational opportunities in the District of Columbia and help us to establish and meet short-, medium-, and long-term goals and strategies. The document will also guide DPR’s future investments and programming decisions for the next 20 years.

DPR will also collaborate with the District of Columbia Public Schools and the National Park Service to address the community needs identified throughout the process. To help determine the priorities and direction of this Master Plan, DPR invites residents to take the Ready2Play Citywide Survey, which can be found at The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and closes on December 20.

The Downtown D.C. Holiday Market: The DowntownDC Business Improvement District's (BID) 16th annual Downtown Holiday Market is underway and will continue through the end of the month. This year's market is bigger than ever, spanning two entire blocks of F Street NW, from 7th to 9th Streets N.W.

The Downtown Holiday Market will operate daily through Wednesday, Dec. 23 from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Shoppers will be able to enjoy food from a variety of local vendors and enjoy various interactive digital activities as well as livestreamed entertainment.

High contact surfaces around the Market will also be sanitized throughout the day and measures will be taken to adhere to public health guidance.

General Information:

- Dates: Friday, November 20 - Monday, December 23 (closed Thanksgiving Day)

- Times: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

- Location: F Street from 7th and 9th Streets N.W.

- For more information on the market, visit:

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