Early this morning, the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to stabilize the economy from the shocks inflicted on it by COVID-19 and related shutdowns. It is reported that a $300 billion portion is ear-marked for small business and includes loans intended to keep employees on the payroll. Approval of the package is pending by the U.S. House of Representatives, but small business contractors can and should explore stimulus funding intended to address COVID-19 impacts that may be available right now at the state and local level. By way of example, the following illustrates the kind of stimulus that is currently available for small business contractors in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
The Maryland Department of Commerce offers $130 million in loan and grant funding through three programs for small businesses negatively impacted:
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund - $75 million loan fund (for for-profit businesses only) 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.
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - $50 million grant program for businesses and non-profits offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020.
- Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund - $5 million incentive program to help manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country.
Information about these programs can be found here: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-fund-programs
The Maryland Department of Labor also recently launched a COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic, including by covering the cost of purchasing remote access (ex. computers, printers, etc.) equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home versus being laid off, the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home, and the costs of cleaning/sanitization services. Information about the fund can be found here: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development offers $25 million in DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants, which are grants to small, local businesses, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and nonprofits to meet their short-term financial needs, including to cover employee wages and benefits, accounts payable, fixed costs, inventory, rent, and utilities. Information about the Microgrants can be found here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/dc-small-business-recovery-grants
SBA DISASTER ASSISTANCE LOANS
Additional funding for COVID-19 impacts on small businesses in Virginia appears to come largely through loans that are now available under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Virginia received a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan designation from the SBA and under the program, small businesses and non-profit organizations can now apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. Information about Virginia's response to COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/. Maryland and Washington, DC also received approval by the SBA of their disaster declarations for purposes of the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and information about those designations can be found here: https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business (Maryland) and https://coronavirus.dc.gov/SBAdisasterloans (Washington, DC).
We will provide updates when additional information about the federal stimulus package, once fully enacted, becomes available.
In the meantime, we hope all of you stay safe and healthy (and please wash your hands!)
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