ANNAPOLIS — New financial assistance programs are now available to restaurants, independent artists, arts organizations, entertainment venues and Main Street businesses as part of Governor Larry Hogan’s $250 million economic recovery package for Marylanders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This economic recovery initiative will be critical to the struggling restaurants, small businesses, and Main Streets across the state that are attempting to weather this crisis,” Hogan said. “I have directed our team to ensure that this much-needed funding gets out the door as quickly as possible.”

Hogan urged counties and local jurisdictions to match the state funds by using their remaining CARES Act funding.

For restaurants across Maryland, a new grant program is available. The state will distribute a total of $50 million across each county and Baltimore City based on the number of restaurants located in each of the 24 jurisdictions. Restaurants interested in the new grant program must apply through their local jurisdictions, which are launching their own relief programs.

Restaurant relief funding for the Mid-Shore is expected to be allocated as follows: Caroline, $144,223; Dorchester, $233,143; Kent, $238,565; Queen Anne’s, $443,514; and Talbot, $531,350.

This new money earmarked for restaurants is in addition to small business economic recovery grant programs already created by each county through CARES Act funding.

Additionally, the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce, has received an additional $3 million to reinvest in its Emergency Grant Program, aimed at helping those in the arts community that have experienced losses because of programming, operations and events that have been modified or canceled. New applications are being accepted until Nov. 13 for impacted county arts agencies, Arts & Entertainment District management entities, arts organizations, and independent artists through the MSAC website.

Destination Marketing Organizations will receive $2 million through the governor’s initiative to to support hometown tourism efforts that promote local restaurants, attractions and shops. Each local jurisdiction’s DMO will receive funds specifically earmarked for marketing purposes, to help drive visitors to local venues and stores. This new funding enhances the annual marketing assistance Maryland Commerce’s Office of Tourism provides directly to local tourism offices.

Also, $50 million will be used to fund the remaining applications submitted for the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund. While new applications are not being accepted for this program, this additional funding will help clear the backlog of some 5,000 remaining small business applications submitted in March and April. Similarly, an additional $5 million will go toward the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, for COVID-19 relief loans for businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs that applied earlier this summer.

Both the Maryland Department of Labor and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will receive $20 million to reinvest in their coronavirus relief programs. Labor began accepting applications on Oct. 28 for its COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to prevent or minimize the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. DHCD has launched a web page with resources for Main Street businesses, entertainment venues and tourism nonprofit organizations.

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