On Friday, October 23, Governor Larry Hogan announced the $250 million “Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery initiative,” which provides funding from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to assist small businesses, restaurants, arts organizations, entertainment venues, and Main Streets struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative brings the state’s total emergency economic relief commitment to $500 million.
Here is how money from the Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative is being allocated.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund
Governor Hogan’s initiative provides an additional $50 million in funding to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund, which awards businesses with 50 or fewer employees grants of up to $10,000. Almost 20,000 small businesses applied for aid through the program when it was initially released, causing the state to close the application window and start a waiting list. The infusion of $50 million into the program is intended to clear the backlog of businesses the Maryland Department of Commerce already qualified. New applications are not being accepted, and companies currently on the waitlist for the grant do not need to reapply.
Direct Relief for Restaurants
The initiative will provide $50 million in direct grants to qualifying restaurants across Maryland to use on a broad range of expenses such as rent, payroll, PPE, outdoor heaters, tents, and improvements to website technology for online deliveries. The funds will be distributed among Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore city on a prorated basis, depending on the number of restaurants in each jurisdiction. Local jurisdictions must allocate and distribute the funding no later than December 31, 2020.
Direct Relief for Main Street
- $15 million will go to entertainment and live performance venues (both for-profit and not-for-profit)
- $5 million will go to Maryland’s 33 designated Main Streets and 8 City of Baltimore-designated main streets to disburse to local, mom-and-pop shop type businesses unique to their communities
- $5 million for venues that attract tourists
COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund
The initiative adds $20 million in funding for the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which provides grants of up to $50,000 for businesses that incurred unanticipated expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic but did not lay off employees. Companies that qualify can request reimbursement for any expenses incurred while the state of emergency was declared. Businesses may not use the funds for hazard pay, rent, vehicles, and marketing costs. To qualify for the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, companies must have up to date unemployment insurance and be in good standing with the Comptroller’s Office. They also cannot have received any previous funds from the Layoff Aversion Fund.
Expansion of Small and Minority Business Low-Interest Loans
$5 million is allocated to the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority for loans to businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
Expanded Funding for Arts Organizations
$3 million is allocated to the Maryland State Arts Council’s Emergency Grant Program for artists and art organizations.
Emergency Rapid Response Fund for Small Businesses
$100 million will be set aside to deploy immediately and as needed to areas hit hardest by the pandemic as it continues to affect various sectors.
More to Come
As always, we’re keeping a close eye on legislative changes that affect your business. Please visit our COVID-19 resources page for additional information and resources. If you have questions or concerns, we’re here to help. Please email us at [email protected] or call 443-320-4101.