Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency assistance provides interim relief and proceeds that can be sued to pay cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs.

These programs are available to Maryland-based businesses and manufacturers with 50 or fewer full-time and part-time employees.

Department of Commerce Assistance

The Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund is a $75 million loan fund (for for-profit businesses only) offering no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converting to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum.

The Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund is a $50 million grant program for businesses and non-profits offering grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020.

The Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund is a $5 million incentive program helping Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More details are expected to be announced by Friday, March 27, 2020.

Department of Labor Assistance

The Maryland Department of Labor has launched the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.

The department of Labor is accepting grant applications from small businesses for awards from now through 30 days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability). According to Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson, Department of Labor staff will process applications within two business days of receipt and will expedite payment upon approval and receipt of a signed contract.

The funds are meant to help businesses with the following needs:

· Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing remote access equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home

· Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home

· Supporting businesses that take advantage of the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program by supplementing the employee’s income and benefits

· Providing funds to cover the costs of cleaning/sanitization services so that small businesses are able to keep employees at work on site, but only if a frequent deep cleaning to prevent exposure occurred

· Paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under emergency circumstances

· Providing funds for training or professional development opportunities for employees to avoid layoffs

· Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs in the small business community.

For more information or to apply, visit the Maryland Department of Commerce and Department of Labor websites.