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Harford County COVID-19 grant applications due Dec. 4 as CARES Act deadline looms

The deadline for businesses eligible for Harford County’s COVID-19 relief grants to file applications is approaching.

The county offers a variety of grants for businesses, farms, restaurants and child care providers who have been impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The grants are paid with federal CARES Act money, which must be spent by Dec. 30, Mumby said.

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Friday, Dec. 4, is a hard stop for the applications as the county will have to process them and mobilize the money to send out.

As of Nov. 25, the county had spent about $26.3 million of its CARES funding — 59% of the approximately $45 million it received. By that date, over 1,300 businesses had applied for the grants, county spokesperson Cindy Mumby said, encompassing 714 small businesses, 53 farms, 441 business owners, 214 restaurants and 145 childcare providers, according to figures the county supplied.

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Qualified businesses that receive the grants can expect to have the money in their accounts by Dec. 30, Mumby said, if not sooner. The grants range from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the type of business applying.

“It is a fairly simple process, and we have folks on staff available to help you through it,” Mumby said. “The goal is to get funding into the hands of these businesses as quickly as possible.”

Most businesses can only receive one type of grant, but restaurants, uniquely, can apply for both a business and specialized restaurant grant. Mumby explained that restaurants were heavily impacted by the restrictions on indoor dining and could suffer more as the weather gets colder.

“Restaurants do operate on thin margins, but we did hear from restaurants that they were going to have to close [permanently],” she said.

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Over the grants’ deadline looms the date CARES Act funding is set to expire. The remainder of the federal money must be returned to the U.S. Treasury if it goes unspent by the end of 2020.

Mumby said the county has a plan to spend all the money, which includes releasing a second round of grants to those already in the system who had applied for the small business, business owner or farms grants. The county has contacted businesses that will be receiving a second grant and those checks are going out this week, she said.

“If they’ve already been approved once, we’ve been in touch with those folks and they’ll be getting their money,” Mumby said.

That second round of funding will not include grants to child care providers, she said.

Harford restaurants will also receive a second round of grant money, which is coming from the state’s CARES Act coffers, but is being distributed by the county. However, in order to be eligible, the state requires some additional information, which Mumby said the county has sent to restaurants that already received a $10,000 county grant.

“They’ve been contacted and provided with the questions the states needs answered,” she said, noting 160 have already responded.

How much each restaurant receives will depend on the number of restaurants who answer the state’s questions, then the $1.8 million the county received will be distributed among them. The deadline to respond to those questions is also Friday, Dec. 4, Mumby said.

Information about the grants and instructions for applications can be found on the county’s website.

By the numbers

Harford County has offered a variety of grant funding to businesses through money received from the federal CARES Act. In total, more than $10.9 million has been spent on these programs through Nov. 25.

Small business relief grants ($7,500)

$5.355 million to 714 small businesses

Homegrown Harford farm relief grants ($2,500)

$132,500 to 53 farms

Business owners assistance grants ($5,000)

$2.205 million to 441 business owners

Restaurant assistance grants ($10,000)

$2.14 million to 214 restaurants

Childcare grants ($7,500)

$1.09 million to 145 childcare providers

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