The state of Maryland is dipping into its Rainy Day Fund to add $250 million to the state’s emergency economic relief efforts for small businesses. The additional relief adds to the Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative, creating new relief efforts and expands existing programs targeting small businesses, restaurants, the arts, and tourism.
Maryland Layoff Aversion Fund
Maryland’s Layoff Aversion Fund will receive $20 million of additional funding, which provides grants of up to $50,000 for businesses with no more than 500 employees based within the state. Grants are made to businesses that incurred unexpected COVID-related expenses but did not lay off any employees. Businesses that have previously received Layoff Aversion funding are not eligible.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund
Due to high demand, funds for the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund ran out of funding last summer. The fund provides businesses with 50 or fewer employees with grants of up to $10,000. Under the new relief package, the fund is being infused with another $50 million to clear the backlog of waitlisted businesses. The fund is not accepting any new applications, and businesses currently on the waitlist do not need to reapply.
Direct relief for restaurants
Restaurants are line to receive $50 million in direct relief. The funds are to be disbursed to the 23 Maryland counties on a prorated basis, depending on the number of restaurants each county. Restaurants can use the funds to purchase heaters, warmers, sanitation services, personal protection equipment, and technology to support carryout and delivery, as well as infrastructure such as improvements in ventilation. Restaurants must use the funds by Dec. 31, 2020.
Direct relief for Main Street
A total of $20 million has been set aside for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to assist entertainment venues within Maryland Main Street organizations and Baltimore’s Main Street Programs. That’s $15 million for both for-profit and not-for-profit entertainment and live performance venues; $5 million is to go to the state’s designated Main Streets, including Baltimore-designated Main Streets, targeting mom-and-pop shops unique to their communities. $5 million goes to venues that attract tourism.
Emergency Rapid Response Fund
With $100 million of funding, the Emergency Rapid Response Fund makes immediate relief available in areas of greatest economic need. This catch-all fund is in place as a placeholder for additional federal stimulus funds, which are expected sometime after the election.
Small and minority business low-interest loans
The Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority will receive $5 million to assist economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs with low-interest loans.
This new funding, prompted by inaction on the federal level, brings Maryland’s total economic relief funding to $500 million. Governor Hogan is hopeful that Congress will act sometime early next year.
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