***This Phone Number is for Small Business Owners ONLY with
Questions about Assistance during the COVID-19 Pandemic***
If you have a small business and need help navigating the funds and grants to assist local merchants through the COVID-19 pandemic, please give the City of Laurel's Small Business Information Hotline a call at 301-356-3876 between the hours of 9:00am - 5:00pm.
Mayor Craig A. Moe has announced that the City of Laurel is allowing temporary banners without a permit for those businesses that are able to stay open per the State.
The business must have an active Use and Occupancy permit on file with the City and the banner may remain up until the businesses are able to fully reopen.
Before installing the banners, the owner/tenant will need to email Robert Love of the Department of Economic and Community Development a rendering or picture of the banner, the dimensions of the banner, the name of the business, the address of the business, and where it is going to be placed at [email protected].
ECD has put together the following informtion to help you navigate the COVID-19 pandemic :
Federal: U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration has declared D.C.-including Prince George’s County- as an economic disaster area. Businesses can apply ONLINE for Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
Maryland Department of Commerce:
The Department is offering three new business assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund - This $75 million loan fund offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - This $50 million grant program offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.
- Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund - This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More information coming by Friday, March 27, 2020.
COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund
Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Labor have launched the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.
Labor is accepting grant applications from small businesses for awards from now through 30 days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability).
How can it help me?
- ✔ Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing remote access (ex. computers, printers, etc.) equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home versus being laid off;
- ✔ Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home;
- ✔ Supporting businesses that take advantage of the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program by supplementing the employee’s income and benefits;
- ✔ Providing funds to cover the costs of cleaning/sanitization services so that small businesses are able to keep employees at work on site, but only if a frequent deep cleaning to prevent exposure occurred;
- ✔ Paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under emergency circumstances;
- ✔ Providing funds for training or professional development opportunities for employees to avoid layoffs; and
- ✔ Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs in the small business community.
Examples of how a business may demonstrate the need for layoff aversion funds:
- I run a call center where employees usually work in an office setting. To support social distancing, I’d like my employees to work remotely, which will require equipment such as reliable headphones and laptops for each employee. If they do not have this equipment, I will need to layoff my staff.
- I could ask employees to use their personal phones and work remotely, but I do not have the funds to support the cell phone packages. If provided funds to reimburse employees for the increased data usage, my business could avoid layoffs.
- My employees could work remotely if they had a specific software or computer application, but I cannot afford to purchase. Without this software, I will need to layoff my workforce until we can go back to the office.
- I need my 8 employees to continue to work on site, but I am concerned about their potential exposure to COVID-19 and cannot afford frequent deep cleaning to help limit potential exposure. If I had funds to support the deep cleaning, it would allow my workers to continue to work and would foster a safer work environment.
- Due to the impacts of COVID-19, my employees have more down time than usual. If I were able to offer the opportunity for them to take project management training online during this down time, they will increase their skillsets, making them a valuable asset to our company and less likely a candidate for layoff.
More info and apply at COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund Policy
Central Maryland Chamber https://www.centralmarylandchamber.org/covid-19-resources.html