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Howard County gives relief grants to more than 200 businesses, expands funding to hotels and day cares

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the first round of HoCo RISE business relief grants Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at a news conference.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the first round of HoCo RISE business relief grants Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at a news conference. (Courtesy photo/Howard County Government)

The first round of HoCo RISE business relief grants assisted 203 Howard County businesses, including 85 retail stores, 44 farms and 74 restaurants, County Executive Calvin Ball said Wednesday at a news conference.

In the beginning of June, Ball announced the county received $57 million in CARES Act funding from the state of Maryland. Most of the money went to supporting health-related expenses, but $5.7 million was designated for relief funding grants to help businesses respond and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Of the total $5.7 million available, approximately $2.7 million was allocated to retail stores, $800,000 to farms and $2 million to restaurants.

“We are putting the limited resources in targeted sectors in hopes of helping some of those most impacted,” Ball said at the conference.

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Ball also announced the county will expand the relief program to offer grants to local hotels and child care businesses.

The program, which originally was limited to retail stores, farms and restaurants, will expand to include day cares and hotels beginning Wednesday, with each business eligible for a $2,500 grant. The county also extended the deadline for retail stores, farms and restaurants to apply to receive relief grants until Friday.

“As residents are able to safely return to their office or work, more and more families will need child care,” Ball said.

He added that pandemic travel restrictions caused setbacks for the local hotel industry.

“These grants will support critical training, supplies and infrastructure for these businesses to operate safely,” he said.

The Howard County Economic Development Authority is working with the county to contact child care providers and hotels in the county about the grants.

“The Economic Development Authority was proud to be able to support the executive’s HoCo RISE Business Assistance Grant Program,” Larry Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, said in a statement. “The entire team worked tirelessly to deploy the program in record time to get the much-needed assistance to our small business community that has been so severely impacted by this pandemic.”

During the press conference, Ball also noted the Howard County program was different from surrounding jurisdiction because grants were not awarded on a first-come first-serve basis; instead, the county looked to specifically target types of small businesses.

For more information and to apply online, go to hceda.org/c19grants.

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