Released on March 23, 2020 - 5:57pm

Mayor Craig A. Moe wants residents aware that Governor Hogan announced during his press conference this morning that all non-essential businesses have to close today, March 23, 2020, at 5:00pm. The attached interpretive guide will help you determine if your business is deemed essential or non-essential. 

Mayor Moe said, “I want to be sure that our small business owners and their employees have all available information regarding closures and programs to provide assistance to them during this trying time. Information for businesses and assistance programs has been changing almost daily during this public health crisis, so please be sure to check the websites below often for the most up-to-date information. The City of Laurel is committed to helping one of our community’s most valuable assets, our small businesses, get through this emergency.”

Governor Hogan also announced new programs designed to help small businesses, which can be found at  

The Maryland Department of Commerce 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. Details found here>
  • 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. Details found here>
  • 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 this Friday, March 27, 2020.

Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Labor have also 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.

Maryland’s Department of 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.

To learn more, visit

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The Department of Communications provides useful information of public interest and importance to the community, residents and businesses within the city limits, as well as the greater Laurel area.