On Monday, March 28th, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses to close in the continued effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the State of Maryland. This announcement represents the most recent of a string of government actions that, although necessary to the health and welfare of our citizens, will have a significant impact on a number of small and local businesses that have more difficulty absorbing sudden revenue losses. In an effort to minimize this impact, the Governor also announced a package of relief measures to help these businesses and their employees endure these challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund
A $75 million loan fund has been established for businesses with fewer than 50 employees offering interest and principal deferment for 12 months. Following these first 12 months, the loan will then convert to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments at a rate of 2% per annum. These loan proceeds will provide essential working capital to be used for recurring expenses such as rent, payroll and fixed-debt payments. Learn more here
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund
A $50 million grant program will provide grant monies up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Again targeting businesses and non-profits with fewer than 50 employees, these grants are intended to address the lost profits resulting from the decreased customers and closures experienced around the State. Learn more here.
Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund
A $5 million incentive program has been established urging Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment and other supplies. This equipment is desperately needed throughout the State and the country at various hospitals and health-care facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here
Maryland COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund
The Maryland Department of Labor has established a $7 million fund available to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees minimize unemployment resulting from the various closures and loss of business. This program will provide up to $50,000 to applicants which can help fund the acquisition of remote access equipment, on-site cleaning and sanitation services, training and development opportunities and other strategies to mitigate layoffs resulting from the current climate. Learn more here
U.S. Small Business Administration
Recently, President Trump has asked Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program. In response to the economic impact within the State, Governor Hogan announced that the State of Maryland has received official designation for SBA assistance, allowing individual businesses to apply directly to the SBA for low-interest financing through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Learn more here
These programs represent a concerted effort on the part of the State of Maryland to combat the harsh realities that small business owners are facing with each day that COVID-19 crisis continues to plague our communities and homes. If you would like to learn more about these packages, please follow this link or contact our attorneys at Liff, Walsh & Simmons for advice relative to application to these programs or any other challenges that your business is experiencing as a result of this crisis.