A state program of more than $175 million will provide businesses with grants, loans and other relief to help pay workers, suppliers, landlords and other expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The program is designed “to help hard-pressed Marylanders and small businesses get through this difficult period,” Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday at a State House news conference. The program will draw on the resources of the Commerce and Labor departments.
The relief is targeted to small businesses, which often have more difficulty absorbing sudden revenue losses than larger companies.
“We have heard from many, many businesses that are frightened and unsure about what to do,” Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz said. “They want to keep serving their customers and they want to keep paying their employees. They want to still be here when COVID-19 is fading only into our memories.”
The state on Monday ordered the closing of retailers and all other “nonessential” businesses.
But “many businesses are still open,” Hogan said. He said those include “everybody in the supply chain, to make sure we get all of the necessary goods and services out to everybody.”
Among those still operating are pharmacies, health-care related organizations, grocery stores, banks, convenience stores and others.
Maryland had already shut down movie theaters and restaurants, although carry-out, delivery and drive-through sales are permitted.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has its own program under which the state’s small businesses are eligible for low-interest loans of up to $2 million. Applicants may apply here or call 800-659-2955 for information.
Here are highlights of the program, who they serve, and how to apply for each:
— A $75 million fund will provide loans of up to $50,000 to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The rate is 0% for the first 12 months, and 2% for the remaining 36 months. Applicants “must demonstrate financial stress or disrupted operations” to be eligible. Businesses can apply here.
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— A $50 million fund will supply grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that have lost revenue.
The grant amount can’t exceed the three months of operating expenses incurred during the first quarter of this year.
The state says the money is to be used for payroll, rent, mortgage, utility costs or “other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.” To be eligible, the annual revenues of the business or nonprofit can’t be more than $5 million. Businesses can apply here.
— A $7 million “layoff aversion” fund is to help small business retain their employees during the pandemic. “Small businesses can apply now for up to $50,000 in very flexible funding to help continue operations and keep Marylanders working,” Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said. For information and a link to application, click here.
— A $5 million incentive program is to help Maryland manufacturers produce personal protective equipment for health-care workers across the country. The state said information about the program will be available Friday.