COVID-19: Resources for Businesses

County Microenterprise Stabilization Program

Montgomery County is launching a new grant program to provide financial assistance to income-eligible for-profit businesses with five or fewer employees that have experienced a reduction in revenue as a result of the current public health emergency.

The Microenterprise Stabilization Program is made possible by Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding. CDBG-CV is a type of federal funding with specific funding eligibility criteria that necessarily shaped the requirements for grant awards.

Assistance is for an award up to $10,000 per business.

Note that a business that has received a Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) from Montgomery County, Maryland is NOT eligible for this program.

Eligibility criteria and required documentation can be reviewed on the Montgomery County Microenterprise Stabilization Program web page.

Applications for this program will be accepted from June 10 through June 16.

Montgomery County Telework Assistance Program

The Montgomery County Council has funded an additional $1.2 million for the Montgomery County Telework Assistance Program.

Local businesses can access this grant program through the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC).

The program will reimburse Montgomery County businesses and non-profit organizations for expenses incurred to implement a telework policy due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The MCEDC will award grants of up to $2,500 to eligible County businesses and non-profits for verified teleworking equipment and software purchased in response to the pandemic.

The telework grants will be awarded to eligible applicants using a lottery system each week. The MCEDC will award grants on a lottery system to ensure that applicants who may need time to locate receipts, pull their materials together and submit an application have access to the funds.

Montgomery County Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) program

Businesses have started receiving Montgomery County’s Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) program grants to help offset significant financial losses due to the current COVID-19 health crisis.

Visit the PHEG program web page for a dashboard with regular updates on the number of awards made, the total amount awarded and other metrics.

Grants will continue to be distributed on a daily basis as they are approved. The County now has more than 50 people reviewing grant applications and is accelerating the review process.

The $25 million PHEG initiative is a collaborative effort between County Executive Marc Elrich and the Montgomery County Council. In addition to for-profit and nonprofit businesses, the program allowed businesses with no employees, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, to apply for assistance.

Montgomery County accepted applications for the PHEG program from April 15-25, 2020. The program received applications from a total of 6,757 businesses, with approximately 75 percent from businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

Because of limited County funds and overwhelming demand, Montgomery County is encouraging businesses throughout the County to explore other forms of Federal and State assistance that may be available.

Resources to assist in this search include:

Maryland Officials Launch New Portal to Connect PPE Suppliers and Buyers

The Maryland Manufacturing Network Supplier Portal connects suppliers and buyers in need of critically personal protective equipment needed to combat coronavirus. Manufacturers and suppliers can provide their information and buyers can search for suppliers.

State and Federal Business Assistance Programs

Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program: Provides support to small and medium-sized businesses and their employees across the United States during the current period of financial strain by supporting the provision of credit to such businesses. The availability of additional credit is intended to help companies that were in sound financial condition prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic maintain their operations and payroll until conditions normalize.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program: An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance: SBA is accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.

SBA Small Business Debt Relief Program: Provides a reprieve to small businesses overcoming the challenges created by COVID-19.

  • The SBA will automatically pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
  • The SBA also will automatically pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

IRS Employee Retention Tax Credit: Encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

IRS Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes: Allows businesses to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments (one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022).

Important Updates on Unemployment Benefits

Includes self-employed, independent contractors, “gig” workers.
On April 17, eligible Marylanders began seeing an additional $600 per week payment as a result of the federal CARES Act.

On Friday, April 24, the Maryland Department of Labor launched a new BEACON One-Stop Application to allow all newly eligible Marylanders to file all types of claims entirely online. Eligibility is expanded to those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, have insufficient work history, or who have exhausted their benefits since July 1, 2019 and are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will now be able to submit their applications online and receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.

These individuals should visit Labor’s website at MDunemployment.com and enter their email address to receive important information and instructions about filing their new claim. The new application will also allow individuals who were previously required to file by phone, like those who are federal employees, members of the military, have worked in multiple states, and have worked for more than 3 employers in the last 18 months to now file online. 

Apply for Maryland Unemployment benefits at mdunemployment.com

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
  • $600 per week on top of current regular UI benefits.
  • Effective March 29, 2020 through July 31, 2020.
  • Will be automatically updated if you qualify, are currently receiving benefits, and once our technical systems are modified.
 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • 13 additional weeks of UI benefits, plus $600 FPUC.
  • Effective March 29, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Will be automatically updated if you qualify, are currently receiving benefits, and once our technical systems are modified.

Maryland Governor’s Proclamations, Executive Orders and Interpretive Guidance

To stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and increase the safety of the community, Governor Hogan has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.  Office of Legal Counsel has provided interpretive guidance on business closures:

  • Businesses considered essential
  • Barbers/Salons providing services to customers working for businesses and organizations not required to close that are required to meet grooming standards established by the customer’s employer.
Health Order

Please check back often as information is changing quickly and updates will be posted regularly.

Here are some additional general resources for businesses: