The Governor held another press conference today at 4pm and announced the start of Phase 2 of MD’s Reopening plan beginning Friday at 5pm. This includes:
If you are interested in these webinars, you can logon and register minutes prior to the meeting. They are both Tuesday and cover Outdoor Recreation and Dining.
Washington County Together We Rise Town Hall webinars on Tuesday June 2nd:
In addition to the previous email regarding the County’s Rise Up Business Grant, if you want to be the first to apply, below are the materials you’ll need to have available.
Start assembling these documents and be ready to launch your application Monday morning:
a. Income Statement and Balance Sheet for Year end 12/31/19b. Profit and Loss Statement for March 2020 and each month after to date, AND the prior year comparative statement.c. Previous Year Tax Return
d. Schedule C of personal tax returns for sole proprietors (if applicable)
Here is a great opportunity for a local grant to help your tourism business:
RISE UP GRANTS AVAILABLE TO WASHINGTON COUNTY SMALL BUSINESSES
Applications will be accepted from 8:00 a.m. Monday, June 1, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020. Applications for the Rise Up Business Stabilization Grant must be made online at www.washcorises.net. The website also provides guidelines, application instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Please note any financial information shared as part of this application will remain confidential, but the names of businesses receiving grants and the amount they receive is public information.
For questions regarding eligibility criteria or required documentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State of Maryland continues to update the Back to Business website with attractive reopening guideline one-pagers for certain industries. Eventually, the 13 industries that had task-force workgroups will have information posted here. It is a good site to be checking daily for new information! https://open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness/
I you received a PPP loan and want it forgiven there is some record keeping and documentation involved. The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application is now on line. I have linked it here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/3245-0407-SBA-Form-3508-PPP-Forgiveness-Application.pdf
The MD Personal Protection Equipment exchange might be a good resource for businesses as they open: https://dgs.maryland.gov/Pages/Procurement/Bidboards/EmergencyContracts.aspx
Also, if you missed the County’s Town Hall virtual meeting, you can go to www.washcorises.net to download the recorded presentation and other helpful tools.
This link will take you a TOP TEN list of things you can do to prepare to reopen your business. https://www.washco-md.net/wp-content/uploads/Prepare-to-Reopen-list.pdf
The following website “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” will be very useful in the coming weeks, so you may want to save this link: https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery/
If you have not already joined the Washington County Take Out & Delivery Facebook page, please do! The page has over 5,000 followers who are sitting home planning their next meal. Post a picture of some yummy food to let people know you are open for take out, delivery or curbside pick up and your days/hours. We all want to support you!
We thought the following information might be of interest to you from the American Hotel and Lodging Association. It is the “Safe Stay” - National Industry-Wide Cleaning and Safety Standards Released:
The Maryland Restaurant Relief Fund is offering up to $2,500 in grants to qualifying Maryland-based restaurants and bars in need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is organized by OLD BAY and McCormick For Chefs and the CORECARES Foundation.https://corecares.org/maryland-restaurant-relief-fund/
If you are curious about changes in the State’s unemployment insurance rules or having trouble applying for benefits this virtual meeting maybe helpful to you: https://web.hagerstown.org/events/Update-from-Secretary-Robinson-3167/details
This information comes to me through my daily Emergency Support Function group. CVB Members are encouraged to apply for these much needed relief benefits.
Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Benefits Under the New CARES Act
The federal government recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which includes an expansion of unemployment insurance benefits for Marylanders. Please read our CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions for more information about benefit eligibility, duration, and amounts.
On Friday, April 24, Labor will be launching a new, one-stop unemployment insurance application to allow Marylanders to file claims for all unemployment programs entirely online. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, and those who were previously required to file by phone like federal employees, members of the military, individuals who have worked in multiple states, and those who have worked for more than 3 employers in the last 18 months.
The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor opted into providing ALL three of the expanded unemployment insurance programs offered through the provisions of the CARES Act. For More Information CLICK HERE
Starting Friday, April 24, those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, or have insufficient work history will be able to apply online. To receive an e-mail with additional information and instructions once the new application is ready, please CLICK HERE and scroll to the “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)” section halfway down the page.
PREVIOUS APRIL 17 UDPATE - TRAVEL SURVEY POSITIVE RESULTS
This is a very good and very brief travel survey follow-up article. The two best quotes are pasted below. It tells me your CVB is doing the right thing now and Washington County will have an advantage in the near future.
One of the things that will change after the coronavirus outbreak is what travelers will want to do when travel restrictions are lifted. The BVK research found that “social distancing” activities will be most popular, including road trips, beach vacations, outdoor adventures, and remote/rural destinations. At least to start, big cities, festivals, cruises and group tours will be a harder sell.
About half of U.S. travelers (52 percent) said that they only want to see travel advertising that is addressing their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 48 percent said that they feel it is insensitive for travel companies and destinations to advertise right now.
The Maryland Heritage Area Authority is pleased to share that the MHAA COVID-19 Emergency Operating Grants for Nonprofits are now open.
Nonprofit heritage tourism organizations located within the boundaries of a certified heritage area that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis are eligible to apply for grants of up to $20,000. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with all applications received by the first of each month considered as a group.
This 4 phase plan to reopen the economy has a wide distribution and is gaining credibility. You will benefit from studying this document and beginning to prepare.
Ask yourself these questions. Can you open at 50% capacity? Can you accommodate smaller groups? Can you make transactions touchless? Can you enforce rules you put into place?
4 Phase Plan
What we knew about Bulk claims through the Unemployment Office has changed. The message below is copied and pasted from an email from the UI office. It is contrary to what I sent out earlier this week.
It was just determined that the bulk claim process that was initially communicated to employers to file on employees behalf has been misconstrued. I apologize for any miscommunication. Below is the clarification:
When the business contacts Unemployment Insurance to file a bulk claim it ONLY satisfies the employer's part and unless other steps are taken on behalf of the employee, it does not satisfy the action required by the claimant, i.e. filing a claim and subsequent webcerts or telecerts. Unless the employer is willing and able to have employees physically complete paper forms and mail them back in bulk, the other criteria is not being met for the claims process. In this COVID-19 situation, that is unlikely because most businesses are experiencing immediate shutdown and not having physical contact with the employees. Some smaller businesses may still want to handle the additional steps on behalf of their employees, but my assumption is that it is not the most convenient nor timely way to handle claims.
The best process is still for businesses with 25 or more employees (see **note a few lines down) to initiate a bulk claim by emailing UI.BulkClaim@Maryland.gov or if that option is not possible, calling the employer dedicated phone line at 410-853-1700 between 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The benefit to filing a bulk claim is it will eliminate the need for the employer to complete a Request for Separation Notice for each employee individually.
The best practice is to have employers email the bulk claim information; HOWEVER, EMPLOYEES STILL SHOULD FILE A CLAIM ON THEIR OWN BEHALF AND SUBMIT THEIR SUBSEQUENT WEBCERT OR TELECERT WEEKLY THEREAFTER.
**Note: Another important change is that originally it was communicated that bulk claims were allowable for 5 or more dislocated employees; however it now states under the COVID-19 procedures, it is for 25 or more.
I have attached the forms for each bulk claim process for your convenience; however, here is the link to the FAQ information as well as the forms: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uibulkclaimfaqs.shtml
Please let me know if you have any questions. I know I have miscommunicated this to many businesses as I am sure you have, but unfortunately, the process was not clearly defined until issues with claims being processed correctly were revealed.
Please update any communications and or materials/websites that you may have with the 25 or more employee information as well as the need for employees to still file individually to initiate their claim.
Also, in case some of you may not have the updated schedule to assist with managing the overwhelming amount of claims being filed I am pasting it below:
Please file your claim according to your last name as detailed below:
- If your last name starts with A - F, file your claim on Monday.
- If your last name starts with G - N, file your claim on Tuesday.
- If your last name starts with O - Z, file your claim on Wednesday.
- Claim filing is open to all last names by phone on Thursday and Friday and online Thursday through Sunday.
* Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim.
Hope this is helpful information and feel free to share with any other partners that may be communicating to business within our region and/or State of Maryland.
APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR YOURSELF, (OWNER OR WORKER)
CARES ACT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPLAINED: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uicaresfaqs.pdf
STATE OF MARYLAND UNEMPLOYMENT APPLICATION WITH DIRECTIONS: https://secure-2.dllr.state.md.us/NetClaims/Welcome.aspx
PREVIOUS APRIL 1 UPDATE
SMALL BUSINESS PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
Before You Apply be Prepared with these Items:
2019 IRS Quarterly 940, 941 or 944 payroll tax reports.
FULL INFORMATION: https://home.treasury.gov/coronavirus
PREVIOUS MARCH 29 UPDATE
The link below is the best guide that I have seen relating to the CARES Act, COVID19 disaster relief. It was written specifically for tourism related businesses. Please take advantage of the many programs the CARES Act offers you.
PREVIOUS MARCH 26 UPDATE
Dan had been asked to join one of Washington County MD’s Emergency Support Function teams . An ESF is a FEMA emergency management tool. The ESFs provide the structure for coordinating Federal interagency support for a Federal response to an incident (COVID19). Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) is the grouping of governmental and certain private sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide support, resources, program implementation, and services that are most likely needed to save lives, protect property and the environment, restore essential services and critical infrastructure, and help victims and communities return to normal following domestic incidents.
My ESF team reports on Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization. We have a daily briefing where we receive and report information that impacts Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization.
Please email me (email@example.com) with some stories and facts about the impact of COVID19 on your business. Also tell me what you might need or like to see in the way of support or relief. I will take your message to the ESF group and we can help shape a response.
Do you have resources that may be useful in the response to this emergency? Things like lodging, transportation (buses and vans), equipment (pumps, generators, etc.), and food preparation are all useful.
You can list these resources here and make them available for rent or leasing on a temporary basis for use by FEMA and their associated contractors and suppliers.
There are some instruction here: https://mailchi.mp/medamd/covid-19-letter-from-commerce-secretary-schulz-2619125?e=003137a35a
The Request For Information where you list your resources is here: https://emma.maryland.gov/page.aspx/en/bpm/process_manage_extranet/17615
PREVIOUS MARCH 23 UPDATE
Below please find some information and links that maybe helpful to you, including new grant, SBA relief loan, and outline for closing of non-essential businesses in Washington County.
Understand the Governor’s latest proclamation Here is the Legal Council Interpretive Guide that details Governor Hogan’s Monday 3/23/2020 Proclamation. https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0BeU3EAWQUtpYWpIRrcmzAevS8od68TdLXWrjPbfdYvcgpfGUuvbGRu6c
Temporarily Lease your Lodging Property to the Government Governors, mayors and public health officials across the country are seeking hoteliers who are willing to enter into temporary leases for certain types of lodging properties at this time. Do you want your hotel to be considered? Apply through this link. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdMFbxLD4rsltGfZzBJc0BJ9YyWTIwx0v_XNy9ie3yKtiI8kg/viewform
Apply for a US Small Business Disaster Relief Loan Maryland has received official designation for SBA assistance. Individual businesses can now apply directly to the SBA for low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Apply here. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Apply for a MD State Grant of up to $10,000
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - Offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Apply here. https://marylandcommerce.wufoo.com/forms/small-business-covid19-emergency-grant-relief-fund/
PREVIOUS MARCH 20 UPDATE
We hope you are all safe and well as we all work tirelessly to take stock of the impacts of COVID-19 on our hospitality community. Never in our history have we experienced such devastating and immediate impacts to our nation’s travel industry which is now having lasting effects here in Washington County and across our great state.
To alleviate some current stress on you and your business, the CVB would like to extend the current due date of your membership renewal to July 1, 2020. We realize this maybe small, but also know every bit can help.
Our staff is continually working on plans and future marketing efforts. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can help you during this time.
PREVIOUS MARCH 20 UPDATE
Applications are now being accepted for Washington County.
According to the SBA, the loans will help alleviate financial strain and allow businesses to pay bills, payroll, and accounts payable, with long-term payments stretching up to 30 years. Small businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply directly to the SBA for financial assistance here.
PREVIOUS MARCH 19 UPDATE
Should you need information on unemployment insurance, below we have provided some links that maybe helpful to you and your employees, if layoffs occur:
The Maryland Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and meet the program’s eligibility requirements. If you have become unemployed, you may file a claim on-line or by telephone. Get all the information you need through this link. https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uibenefits.shtml
You can file your initial claim on-line through this link.
If a business experiences a temporary or permanent layoff, Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Bulk Claim Services can open unemployment insurance claims for all affected employees. Businesses should contact a Claims Representative by emailing UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov.