APRIL 8, 2021 - GRANT
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established through the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act to provide over $16 billion in economic relief to target industries. The SVOG application opened today, April 8, 2021.
If you feel you qualify, please follow the link and apply today! https://www.svograntportal.sba.gov/s/
PREVIOUS MARCH 30 - SMALL BUSINESS GRANT RELIEF
This grant opens today for a limited time only. To support Maryland’s small businesses facing continued financial impacts from the novel coronavirus, the state established through bipartisan legislation the new Maryland Small Business COVID-19 RELIEF Grant Program in 2021 with $10 million in state RELIEF Act funding.
The grant offers working capital to assist certain Maryland small businesses with disrupted operations due to COVID-19. Grant assistance is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with its bank, business interruption insurance, and financial partners.
We will accept applications starting March 30 at 9 am EST through April 6 at 11:59 pm EST.
Funding is extremely limited and may ultimately result in approval on a first-come, first-served basis. The application process will be open for a limited period, and Commerce anticipates substantial interest in this program. We encourage you to apply as soon as applications become available.
To get the full grant information go here.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: FEBRUARY 17 - RELIEF ACT
The RELIEF Act of 2021 was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. It provides direct stimulus payments to qualifying Marylanders, unemployment insurance grants to qualifying Marylanders, and grants and loans to qualifying small businesses. This webpage provides information on payment eligibility and additional information regarding the Comptroller of Maryland's execution of the RELIEF Act. https://marylandtaxes.gov/reliefact/
Here is some of what you will see inside the above website.
Small Business & Nonprofits
PREVIOUS UPDATE FEBRUARY 16 - COVID RELIEF LEGISLATION
The RELIEF Act of 2021
RELIEF FOR MARYLANDERS
DIRECT STIMULUS PAYMENTS FOR LOW TO MODERATE-INCOME MARYLANDERS
This relief begins with immediate payments of $500 for families and $300 for individuals who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Similar to federal stimulus payments, no application for relief is necessary.
Marylanders would qualify for these payments who annually earn:
$50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
$47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
$41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
$15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
The payments provide $178 million in relief to 400,000 Marylanders. In addition, the legislation increases the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit to 45% for families and 100% for individuals.
The RELIEF Act also enhances the Earned Income Tax Credit for these same 400,000 Marylanders by an estimated $478 million over the next three tax years.
MORE SUPPORT FOR UNEMPLOYED MARYLANDERS
The RELIEF Act will repeal all state and local income taxes on unemployment benefits for tax years 2020 and 2021, helping people get more refunds during tax filing season. Marylanders will save more than $400 million over the next two years as a result.
RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
IMMEDIATE SALES TAX CREDITS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The RELIEF Act makes a nearly $200 million commitment to supporting small businesses with sales tax credits of up to $3,000 per month for three months—for a total of up to $9,000. This relief will directly help more than 55,000 Maryland small businesses.
This relief is automatic and based on a sliding scale up to $3,000. For example, if you are a business with $100,000 in monthly revenue and you collect $6,000 in sales taxes, you only remit $3,000. If you have $50,000 in monthly revenue and you collect $3,000 in sales taxes, you keep all $3,000.
UNEMPLOYMENT TAX RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
On December 10, Governor Hogan issued an executive order to prevent small businesses from facing major increases in their unemployment taxes. Under this order, an employer’s 2021 tax rate will be calculated based on their non-pandemic experience by excluding the 2020 fiscal year, and instead by using the last three fiscal years of 2017, 2018, and 2019. A change in law is necessary to enable this policy to remain in place beyond the state of emergency. Combined, the executive order and the RELIEF Act provide $326 million in relief.
In addition, it would allow small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees to defer unemployment insurance tax payments in calendar year 2021 to January 2022.
COVID-19 LOAN AND GRANT FORGIVENESS, ADDITIONAL RELIEF FUNDS
The RELIEF Act’s loan and grant forgiveness plan would safeguard Maryland business owners against any tax increase triggered by the use of state loan or grant funds. This relief would come at a net zero cost to the state while saving businesses an estimated $36 million.
The RELIEF Act also includes an additional $500 million in new funding for programs and grants for businesses and nonprofits, housing, health, unemployment insurance, energy assistance, education, and human services.
PREVIOUS UPDATE DECEMBER 23 - WHAT'S COMING FROM RELIEF PACKAGE
Information on the new Federal COVID relief bill is trickling out. Here’s some points I thought you might find helpful. I got this summary from our friends at the MD Department of Commerce.
Changes to the PPP loan in the new relief package – discussed during a U.S. Chamber webinar this afternoon.
2. The same 60/40 rule applies- 60% of PPP money used for payroll costs. 40% for other expenses.
The Maximum amount of PPP loan is $2 million dollars per biz.
1. For NAICS 72 businesses (food/hospitality) the avg monthly payroll calculations is 3.5 times (instead of 2.5 times).
2. Live Venue Grant - $15 billion. Must demonstrate a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, or up to 45% of your 2019 receipts. Can apply for up to $10 million dollars per biz. Can NOT apply for a PPPL and Live Venue grant. Bars with entertainment don’t qualify. Theaters and museums do. Those who depend on sales of tickets as a main source of revenue.
3. The Employee Tax Credit has expanded. Jan 1 2021- to June 30 2021. 70% of wages, up to $10k of employee’s salary (so $7000 per employee), per quarter. So $7kx2 = $14k per employee. Old limit was up to 100 employees. New limit is less than 500 employees. *Before the end of this year, businesses can apply for the employee tax credit for up to $5k per employee – this is a refundable tax credit. You cannot claim the same employee wages for PPP and Employee tax credit however.
4. EIDL – reopening with $20 billion. It includes the same (up to) $10k grant. If you applied before and only got $2k, you can apply again to get the additional $8k. New – the grant amount (up to $10k) will NOT be deducted from your PPPL forgiveness.
5. Next steps – Once the relief package is signed by all, the SBA has 10 days and will go to work on creating/updating forms. The banks will use these forms. You apply for a PPP loan at your bank (same as last time). The EIDL application will appear on the www.SBA.gov website once it is ready.
Q. If I received a PPPL but then closed my business, can I apply for a 2nd loan to pay off the debt?
A. Not likely as the PPP loan is generally not used to pay off debt.
Q. If I received a grant from my county or state, or some other source, does that count as revenue when applying for a PPP loan?
A. Unknown at this time. Stay tuned for further clarification to come.
Q. If my PPP loan is less than $150k is it automatically forgiven?
A. NO – you must still apply for forgiveness. You will use a much simpler 1-gage application however. Work with your bank on this.
Unemployment – the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has been extended through March 14th. This is an additional $300 a week for those on unemployment.
Independent contractors can apply for a PPP loan.
Rental Assistance - $25 billion set aside to help those behind on rent. This money will go to the states and be distributed by them.
SBA 7A loan – For those who have gotten a new loan recently AND for those who get a new 7A loan, the SBA will pay your first 6 months of payments. It was called 6 months of forbearance. Clarification needed on whether these 6 months are forgiven or tacked on to the end of your loan. Big difference! Find more info here: www.sba.gov
Resources for additional information
www.SBA.gov (Great source for PPPL, EIDL, 7A loans and other small business information, tools/resources)
New Small Business Guide: from the U.S. Chamber: https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-small-business-covid-19-emergency-loans
Disclaimer Reminder – Please talk with your accountant and/or bank to verify or confirm any/all of these points shared. Please also understand that many details are still being worked out and additional changes may (likely) come in the weeks ahead
PREVIOUS UPDATE DECEMBER 22 - NEW RELIEF PACKAGE (MORE PPP)
A new $900 billion federal economic relief bill will probably become law within a day or two. The new bill includes another round of Paycheck Protection Program loans/grants. This excerpt from a Forbes magazine article sums it up best, the entire article can be seen here. https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2020/12/21/new-relief-package-provides-new-ppp-funding-for-small-businesses/?sh=5acf413d3092
How small businesses will benefit from new relief package
In addition to the tax fix, the new bill provides the following aid to small businesses:
Funds for businesses that received the first round of PPP funds but can qualify for another bite at the apple if they can show significant losses in 2020 over 2019
Funds earmarked for non-profits and news outlets that weren’t eligible in the first round $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
To prepare for your PPP application gather the information below, this information was needed in the first round and it is reasonable to predict that it will be needed in the second round.
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 theforgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for sixmonths. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenderswill charge small businesses any fees.
Before You Apply be Prepared with these Items:
PREVIOUS NOVEMBER 9 - HOLD ON WASH CO GRANT RELIEF FOR RESTAURANTS
“HAGERSTOWN, MD (November 9, 2020) – The Washington County Department of Business Development announces application submittals for the Direct Relief for Restaurants Grant will be placed on hold effective immediately. A large volume of applications have been received and are projected to expend available funds.
The Department of Business Development will be reviewing all applications that were received on or before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 2020. The Department of Business Development appreciates the response from the restaurant industry in Washington County.
For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Tourism nonprofits such as museums, cultural attractions, zoos, aquariums, etc. whose mission and work substantially contributes to the economic development and now economic recovery, will be eligible to apply. See details using the link below:
I just was made aware of this grant fund for performance venues and theaters. Below is a summary. Just follow the link for the rest of the program.
This is much needed relief for these venues, I hope you can take advantage of it.
Department of Housing and Community Development’s MD Strong Economic Recovery Initiative:
ENTERTAINMENT VENUES will be for the state’s nonprofit and for-profit live music and performance venues as well as independently-owned local movie theaters whose primary mission and work substantially contributes to the economic development and now economic recovery of Maryland communities through employment, visitor driven events, programs and performances.
This pertains only to the funding allocation for MD-SERI Entertainment Venues and provides a preview of the application which is projected to be available online. TBD – MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON
The latest Maryland relief package has money specifically for restaurants. How that money is distributed is the subject of this morning’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The agenda for today’s meeting is linked here; https://www.washco-md.net/wp-content/uploads/bocc201103a.pdf. This agenda will give you a sneak preview of the application process (Page 18). The grants are available for up to $20,000 and will open tomorrow at 8:00 am.
This is a first-come first-served format so please use this sneak preview to prepare for an early submission on Wednesday.
The excerpt below is from the State of Maryland announcement, $50M is the State wide pool of funds.
$50M: Direct Relief for Restaurants
The governor’s initiative will provide direct grant relief to qualifying restaurants across the state. Eligible uses of funds include:
We do not have the guidance for how to apply for the funds that were announced at Governor Hogan’s press conference last week. I think we will know next week. We do know that you will apply through the County like you did for the Rise-Up Grant. I have been told the process will be simple. Look at the criteria below and prepare for the application in advance, the funds can be used for a variety of initiatives.
Washington County received $1,352,000.00 from this $50,000,000.00 fund
$50 Million Restaurant Relief Fund
First, Maryland is launching a new $50 million grant program to provide direct relief to restaurants across
Maryland. These grants can be used for working capital, such as rent, payroll, and job training, purchase
of equipment and services to expand outdoor dining, such as tents, heaters, warmers, and carts,
infrastructure improvements, such as HVAC system upgrades, technology to support carryout and
delivery, purchase of PPE and disposable food containers or utensils, sanitation services, and any other
costs that are permitted under a COVID-19 restaurant assistance program that your jurisdiction may
already be operating.
The State of Maryland has announced an additional COVID-19 relief package. An excerpt from Governor Hogan’s press release appears below. It demonstrates the potential to CVB member businesses. In the coming days the CVB will provide more details about eligibility and the application process:
The ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative’
Through the ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative,’ Governor Hogan is doubling the state’s commitment to emergency economic relief to $500 million through a combination of new and existing programs.
$50M: Expansion of Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund
The governor’s initiative will provide a third installment of funding to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund, which awards grants of up to $10,000 to businesses of 50 or fewer employees. To date, the program has distributed more than 9,600 grants to small businesses across the state. This additional relief will clear the backlog of eligible applications and bring the program’s total funding to $145 million.
$50M: Direct Relief for Restaurants
The governor’s initiative will provide direct grant relief to qualifying restaurants across the state. Eligible uses of funds include:
The funding will be allocated through local jurisdictions and must be distributed no later than December 31, 2020.
$20M: Direct Relief for Main Street
The governor’s initiative will provide $20 million through the Department of Housing and Community Development to assist hard-hit businesses and local entertainment venues within Main Street Maryland organizations as well as the Baltimore Main Streets program.
$20M: Expansion of COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund
The governor’s initiative expands total funding to $30 million for the state’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which has helped small businesses with an average of 20 employees stay open and saved nearly 9,000 Maryland jobs. Grantees have used the average award size of $22,738 per business for such things as purchasing remote access equipment and software to promote teleworking, assisting with employee training and education, purchasing cleaning supplies and services to maintain an onsite workforce, and taking advantage of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing employee income.
$5M: Expansion of Small and Minority Business Low-Interest Loans
The governor’s initiative doubles funding to $10 million for low-interest loans to small and minority businesses. Administered through the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), the program provides financing to businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs. MSBDFA uses include working capital, supplies and materials, machinery and equipment acquisition, land acquisition, or real estate improvements.
$3M: Expansion of Arts Organization Funding
The governor’s initiative increases funding to $7 million for the Maryland State Arts Council’s (MSAC) Emergency Grant Program. In response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, MSAC has created special grant opportunities that provide emergency funding to arts organizations and artists for losses sustained because of programming, operations, and events that have been modified or canceled.
$2M: Hometown Tourism Program
The governor’s initiative provides $2 million for local Destination Marketing Organizations to support hometown tourism efforts that promote local restaurants, attractions, and shops.
$100M: Emergency Rapid Response Fund for Small BusinessesThe governor’s initiative sets aside $100 million that can be immediately deployed to areas where there is the greatest need as the pandemic continues to affect various sectors and as state and local governments wait for the federal government to take action on additional stimulus relief.
The CVB received $210,000 in Federal Aid to boost Destination Marketing for Hagerstown and Washington County. (See the Herald Mail Article for more details.)
There was concern if we would even be able to publish a 2021 Visitor Guide, but our marketing plan was approved by the BOCC which included the production of a Visitor Guide for Washington County. CVB member businesses will be listed as usual, and ALL 2020 advertisers will have their ads renewed in the 2021 guide COMPLIMENTARY!
“Maryland’s positivity rate has been under 5% for 68 consecutive days, and under 4% for 24 consecutive days. 15 of 24 jurisdictions have positivity rates below 3.5%. HOSPITALIZATIONS are down more than 77 percent from their peak. We have seen a nearly 30% decline in ICU levels since 7/25. Based on our improving health metrics, Maryland is taking its initial steps into Stage Three of COVID19 recovery.
“THEATERS: As of Friday 9/4 at 5pm, indoor theatres where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less.
“OUTDOOR VENUES. Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people max.
“RETAIL/RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS. Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.
“SCHOOLS. The governor commends the State Board of Education for voting to require school systems that haven’t developed a plan for returning to in-person instruction until 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter.
New Theater Guidance/Best Practices can be found here: https://commerce.maryland.gov/Documents/BusinessResource/Performances-Theaters-COVID-19-Best-Practices.pdf “
Now that most businesses are reopening, we wanted to touch base and see if you would like to schedule a personal one-on-one, virtual meeting with the CVB staff.
We especially want to be accessible to you during this recovery and reopening stage.
This would be a great opportunity for you to share information on what is new/different? How are you implementing new directives? Do you have grant program questions? What does your future look like? etc. This conversation will also help us relay correct information when promoting your business.
We would also be happy to share the CVB’s plan for the near future.
If you are interested in meeting via Zoom, please reply to this email with at least three (3) different dates and times you’d be available, and we will get something scheduled on our calendars.PREVIOUS UPDATE JUNE 19 - PPP REVISED APPLICATION
The Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of the Treasury posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application on 6/17. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers who:
◾ Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
◾ Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
◾ Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to #COVID19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
➡️ View and download the EZ Forgiveness Application: https://lnkd.in/dx8HSVw
➡️ View and download the Full Forgiveness Application: https://lnkd.in/eRc98c4
➡️ Read the full announcement for more details: http://ow.ly/uxIr50Aagk4
Below is a “user-friendly” list to access of Best Practices for specific business industries. On June 10th, the Governor announced a variety of new businesses and activities could open beginning at 5pm today (Amended Executive Order). As the state gets back to business, business owners are urged to adhere to best practices that ensure the safety of your workers and customers alike. Through our collective efforts, Maryland’s business community will play a critical role in protecting our citizens and preventing another surge of COVID-19 infections.
Follow these best practices for general businesses and your specific business industry. Note: Spanish translations appear in parenthesis.
Recreation, Youth Programs, and Sporting Events Directives
Please adhere to the following orders and directives regarding community, recreational, leisure, cultural and sporting gatherings and events. View the latest directive for Swimming Pools and FAQs for Outdoor Youth Camps, Sports Programs, and Other Youth Programs from the Maryland Department of Health.
All businesses are encouraged to review FAQs regarding face coverings (en español), and consult with resources available through the CDC. Ongoing mitigation guidance, as well as prevention and support resources are available on the CDC’s website. All Executive Orders still in effect must be complied with. See most up to date orders. Additional industry best practices coming soon.
To date, Washington County has received 310 Rise-Up Grant application and committed $3,000,000 in aide. The County has another $5,960,000 to help small businesses. If you did not apply, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. The application process took me less than ½ hour after my documents were assembled. If you are confused about the process or need help developing a strategy to define your need, please contact me. I want to help you make this grant program part of the solution to the problems we are facing.
Prepare these documents:
a. Income Statement and Balance Sheet for Year end 12/31/19
b. 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)
e. IRS W9
Applications will be accepted from 8:00 a.m. Monday, June 1, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020. www.washcorises.net.PREVIOUS UPDATE JUNE 7 - PPP EXTENSION AND I-70 AND I-81 IMPROVEMENTS
On Friday, President Trump signed H.R. 7010, Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 into law and making the following amendments:
Regarding I-70 and I-81, if you are interested in hearing future improvements on these interstates, please join the virtual public meeting using access below on Thursday June 11, 2020; 5pm.
Join the WebEx meeting from here:
Audio Connection: 571-209-6390 (Cisco WebEx)
Access Code: 997 374 859
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 email@example.com.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.