Update 4/7/2020 & 3/30/2020: Noted that the MD Dept. of Commerce and DLLR’s applications are no longer being accepted.
On March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced several new multi-million-dollar grants and loans aimed at providing much-needed relief for small businesses:
As the situation develops, even more resources may become available—don’t hesitate to contact a professional who can efficiently navigate the various options and create a strategy tailored to your needs.
Update: As of 5 p.m. on April 6, Commerce is no longer accepting new applications for its COVID-19 Relief Grant and Loan Programs. All applications that have been submitted are currently being reviewed in the order received. If you have already started an application in the program system, it must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. on April 7, 2020, in order to be considered.
First, the Maryland Department of Commerce now offers three new business assistance programs:
Note: The relief available is meant “to provide interim relief complementing actions with [the business’s] bank, business interruption insurance, and financial partners.”² A for-profit business applying for relief via the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund must be able to show “financial stress or disrupted operations.” Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
Note: A business or nonprofit applying for relief from the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund must be able to show “financial stress or disrupted operations.” Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
Update 3/30/2020: The Department of Labor’s fund, described below, has closed applications. All of the money has already been allocated to, including an extra $2mm that was added to the fun.
Other small business relief programs are still available as of writing, such as the two other funds described in this article and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans from the CARES Act that was part of the $2 trillion stimulus program.
Secondly, the Maryland Department of Labor is accepting applications for the new “COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund (a $7 million fund).” According to the Department of Labor, “[t]he 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.” This program is intended for Maryland businesses that:
Examples of permissible activities include, but are not limited to:
This program is not intended for hazard pay, employee wages/benefits apart from the Workshare Unemployment Insurance Program, and “support services” (i.e., childcare, transportation, lodging, meals).
Significantly, the Department of Labor indicates that it is accepting grant applications now and until 30 days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability).
Note: Additionally, an “applicant” may include “employer consortiums” – i.e., businesses who collectively meet the above criteria, such as:
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) economic injury disaster loans provide critical economic support to small businesses facing significant disaster-related revenue losses—offering up to $2 million in assistance per affected small business. On March 17, 2020, in an effort to minimize the significant economic disruption to our nations’ small businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza released revised criteria for states (or U.S. territories) seeking a COVID-19 economic injury declaration. Specifically, the SBA has relaxed its criteria to request an economic injury declaration—resulting in statewide disaster assistance loans.
In its announcement, which may be read in full at sba.gov, the SBA stated that the revised criteria will have the following immediate effects:
Significantly, these loans may be offered with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years. The term of a loan is determined on a case-by-case basis and weighs each borrower’s ability to repay. The interest rates are set at 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
Note: We are closely monitoring legislative developments regarding proposed modifications to the requirements for small business loans issued in response to COVID-19 and will update our readers accordingly.
Again, we urge you to act quickly to take advantage of the relief that’s available. Remember, as the Department of Labor’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund reminds potential applicants—their program is only available within a certain timeframe (which is also subject to funding availability). An experienced legal professional can help efficiently determine the relief-strategy that works best for you and streamline the application process(es).
We will continue to update our readers on developments pertaining to relief provisions for small businesses as they become available. Specifically, we are tracking Senate Bill 3541 (“A bill to modify requirements relating to small business disaster loans made in response to COVID-19, and for other purposes”) and Senate Bill 3548 ( To provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.)
If you would like to discuss small business relief provisions available during the COVID-19 pandemic, call Frost Law today at 410-862-2806.
This analysis is not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. This analysis does not constitute legal advice and is being provided on an informational basis only. For advice about whether and how you or your business can benefit from this topic, please contact your legal counsel.