COVID-19 Resources

The COVID-19 public health crisis is also an economic crisis for Talbot County’s business owners and workers in every industry. We update this information daily to bring you the latest information and best resources to help you manage your business during this pandemic. At the Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism, we are here to support you, not just in times of crisis, but every day.

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration has developed a simple comparison tool offering the basic facts, dates, and eligibility requirements for you to start on the path to apply for the best funding option for your small business.

 

Questions about how your 2021 unemployment insurance tax rate was calculated? Check out information from State Senator Addie Eckardt.

 

Financial Help For Businesses

State

Project Restore – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will offer rental grants and sales tax relief rebates to help offset startup costs and incentivize commercial investment in vacant spaces through a new program called Project Restore. Businesses that begin new or expanded operations in spaces that have not been generating sales tax receipts for the past six months or more will be eligible. Small businesses of 50 or fewer employees will be eligible for additional benefits.

Small, Minority and Women Owned Business Administration COVID RELIEF Program – To support Maryland’s small businesses that face continued financial impacts from the Coronavirus, the state established the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Administration COVID RELIEF Program with $10 million in state Relief Act funding.

Maryland Apprenticeship Expansion Grant – The Maryland Department of Labor is now accepting proposals for grant funds to support Registered Apprenticeship Programs across the state.

Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund (MEAF) – MEAF provides loans of up to $150,000 for small and underserved businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Applicants must demonstrate credit worthiness, ability to repay, and an inability to qualify for loans from traditional lending sources.

Maryland Neighborhood BusinessWorks Loan Program — The Department of Housing and Community Development provides flexible financing to new or expanding small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Sustainable Communities and Priority Funding Areas throughout the state.

Federal

Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Loan Direct Forgiveness Portal goes live August 4, 2021. This new portal will streamline applications for loans $150K or less. Go to the website or check out the user guide for more information.

The American Rescue Plan extends the employee retention credit PDF through December 2021 to businesses that have seen revenues decline or had to temporarily shut down their operations due to government orders related to COVID-19. Businesses that qualify can take the maximum credit of $28,000 per an employee for 2021.

Assistance through local Small Business Development Offices can be found here.

Also through the American Rescue Plan, employers with fewer than 500 employees may receive up to $17,110 per employee to provide workers with up to 10 days of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Click this link to learn more.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant – The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established through the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act to provide over $16 billion in economic relief to target industries.

Business Owners’ Idea Café Small Business Grant –  Business owners in business for at least six months can apply for a $1,000 grant with advertising opportunities. There are no entry fees and a complete business plan is not required. 

National Association for the Self-Employed Growth GrantsBusiness owners may apply for up to $4,000 for specific small business projects. Past recipients used growth grants to purchase computers, hire part-time help, and create marketing materials.

U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.

  • These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. Interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses; 2.75% for non-profits.
  • Loan repayment term is up to 30 years and first payment is deferred for one year.

EIDL Advance Grant 2.0 – Eligible small businesses are able to receive additional funding if their first EIDL Advance Grant was under $10,000.

  • Employ 300 employees or less;
  • Demonstrate at least 30% reduction in gross receipts in any 8-week period between March 2, 2020 and December 31, 2021; and
  • Are located in a low-income community, as defined for the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC).

Check on the status of your EIDL application by calling 1-800-659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for PPP loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Other Assistance Programs

State

Work Sharing ProgramThis Maryland Department of Labor program is designed to avoid layoffs by preserving jobs for trained workers. Qualified employers are able to retain an entire employee group by reducing that group’s hours of work by a percentage equal to the total reduction of hours that would have been achieved by a layoff.

Federal

Employee Retention Credit – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll. The tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer.

IRS Employee Retention Credit— The U.S. Internal Revenue Service allows employers to claim tax credit of up to $5,000 for paying the health premiums of furloughed employee health premiums.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service provided guidance in Notice 2020-54 to employers requiring them to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on Form W-2. Additional information about tax relief for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on IRS.gov.

Check out this site from the Small Business Development Center about federal resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

 

Financial Help for Agriculture

State

Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief ProgramThis Maryland Department of Agriculture program is designed to provide payments for contract poultry producers who were not eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funds. Also offers bonus payments to farmers who received federal relief from the first round of CFAP funding.

Federal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants and loans under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements, conduct energy audits, and provide development assistance. Deadline to apply for grants Oct. 31, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers the Farm Loan Discovery Tool to help farmers find agriculture loans.

 

Unemployment Information

Unemployment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions:  https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml

 

Additional Resources

State

Financial Resources for Individuals and Families — Information on resources from the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Maryland Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Maryland COVID-19 Information for Business – A roundup of resources for businesses affected by COVID-19.

The Maryland Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program— Website lists state contracting opportunities for small businesses. The program applies to 66 designated agencies and departments that are required to spend at least 15 percent of their total fiscal year procurement expenditures with certified SBR vendors. Vendors can become certified online in one day. There is no cost to participate.

The State of Maryland’s Procurement Forecast for Fiscal Year 2021 is now available on the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs website. The database is populated with solicitations of $100,000 or greater.

SCORE’s Small Business Resilience Resource Portal –  SCORE has created a comprehensive resource portal to help you find the specific information, government resources, and financial support you need to position your business for future success.

Small Business Development Center Survival Guide – A comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to navigate the crisis, including tips on how to talk to creditors, alternative funding sources, and how to leverage social media platforms to communicate to customers.

The Hogan Administration’s COVID-19 Response – Live updates and the latest news from Governor Larry Hogan.

Federal

COVID-19 Health Insurance Resources — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have published a tip sheet on health coverage options and marketplace frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 and Equal Opportunity Employment Laws — Equal Employment Opportunity laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce developed a Guide for Small Businesses to help them understand the various assistance programs, including changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans, as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL Program), the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Venue Grant program, and SBA loan programs.

 

You Are Not Alone

Feeling stressed? Anxious? Depressed by the COVID-19 public health crisis? Don’t suffer in silence. Help is available for you and your loved ones.

For All Seasons24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Toll-Free: 800-310-7273 English:410-820-5600 Spanish: 410-829-6143

For All Seasons continues to have availability for crisis appointments, in-person appointments, teletherapy, and telepsychiatry, as well as 24/7 hotlines during the COVID-19 crisis. You can even text to get help. Staff is available for both long-term and short-term appointments for anyone in need of support.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Toll-Free (English) 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Toll-Free (español) 1-888-628-9454. More information for businesses here