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Harford using more than $1 million in state funding to offer grants to hotels affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Hotel owners in Harford County are eligible to receive grant funding through the state of Maryland to offset expenses related to COVID-19.

The county will begin accepting applications for the Hotel Relief Grant on Wednesday; the deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m. Jan. 29. How much grant money each hotel receives will depend on the number of applicants, according to an announcement from the county.

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Harford received $1,005,964 in funding from the state to be used to support the hotel industry. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the relief funding in December.

Only hotels in Harford County that contributed toward the county’s hotel and lodging fee are eligible. According to county spokesperson Erika Butler, there are 38 hotels who paid those fees last year and are eligible for the grants.

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Enacted in 2015, the 6% hotel occupancy tax is collected whenever someone stays at a hotel or motel in Harford County. A percentage of the revenues are distributed to municipalities where hotels are located and used to fund tourism and tourism-related activities in the county. The tax does not apply to other forms of lodging, such as a bed and breakfast.

Grant funds for qualifying hotels can be used for normal operating costs such as rent, payroll, job training, taxes, or debt services, as well as the purchase of personal protective equipment, sanitization services or other COVID-related costs, according to the county news release.

“I would like to thank these valued members of our Harford County business community for what they’re doing to keep the county safe and productive,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement. “I sincerely hope these funds will assist them in getting through the difficult winter months and help prepare them for a prosperous spring.”

The hotel grant is the county’s seventh COVID-19 relief grant program. It used about $20.6 million of the nearly $45 million it received in federal CARES Act funding for programs for small businesses, restaurants, farms and childcare providers in 2020.

Hotel owners who had previously received a Harford County COVID-19 Business Relief Grant are still eligible for the Hotel Relief Grant, according to the news release.

For more information and to access the application and FAQs, visit the county’s website at www.harfordcountymd.gov/3057/Hotel-Relief-Grant

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