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Howard County announces more than $1.7 million in grants to support restaurants, hotels amid COVID pandemic

Howard County on Monday opened applications for a fourth round of HoCo RISE business grants for local restaurants and hotels amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

At a news conference, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said the new round of grants — with $1.2 million allocated for restaurants and more than $500,000 for hotels — will be funded by the state.

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“During the course of the past year, our small local businesses have pushed forward through extraordinary circumstances and unforeseen obstacles, the very least we can do is continue to provide additional support and funding to ensure they can thrive as we emerge from this pandemic,” Ball said at the event at the Periodic Table restaurant in Columbia.

Restaurants and hotels that are awarded a grant are permitted to use the funding for any expenses related to COVID-19, including working capital and operating costs, infrastructure improvements, technology and more.

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“We know how much relief is needed and, for our hospitality industry especially, this past year was devastating with fewer events and less travel,” Ball said.

In this round of grants, each restaurant can receive a maximum of $12,000 and each hotel can get up to $25,000.

The relief grants are part of the county’s HoCo Rise initiative launched in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since July, the county has provided nearly $18 million in CARES Act funding to almost 2,000 restaurants, small retailers, farms, live venues and child care providers, after receiving $56.8 million in CARES Act funding from the federal government in June.

Most recently, in February, Howard County announced the third round of business relief grants totaling $5.1 million total: $2 million in county funds for local businesses, $1.5 million from the state for restaurants and $1.6 million from the state for hotels.

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For more information and to apply, go to hceda.org/c19grants. Applications are open through May 24.

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