Maryland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Business

While some businesses who applied for Maryland Commerce COVID-19 Relief funding may have received approval notifications, please note funds are still being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning with those who applied on March 23. Please visit our FAQs for more information on disbursement.

On April 24, the fourth federal package was signed into law to provide relief to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. $310 billion is set to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and $10 billion for EIDL grants.

Beginning on Friday, April 24, all new and previously ineligible claimants, as well as claimants who could only file by phone, can now apply for Unemployment Insurance using the new one-stop online portal. Please visit the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance homepage for application details.

Maryland’s COVID-19 Business Response

The State of Maryland has taken far-reaching and proactive steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across our state, including ordering state employees to telework, closing public schools, and non-essential businesses (including restaurant dining rooms, casinos and racetracks, and other businesses), and activating the National Guard to carry out any emergency functions that may be needed. State agencies including the Department of Commerce remain prepared to serve our clients in the business community.

These unprecedented measures may feel extreme or frightening, but they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and save the lives of Marylanders.

“We are all in this together, and we will only get through this if we work together.” - Governor Larry Hogan



Find a full list of Governor Hogan's executive orders and interpretive guidance here. If “essential” or “non-essential” status is still unclear, please use this as guidance.

View an ongoing list of frequently asked questions here for Maryland businesses planning and responding to the Coronavirus. Click here for FAQ translations in more than 10 different languages.


Financial Assistance

State Programs

  • While some businesses who applied for Maryland Commerce COVID-19 Relief funding may have received approval notifications, please note funds are still being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning with those who applied on March 23. Please visit our FAQs for more information on disbursement.
  • As of 5 p.m. on April 21, Commerce is no longer accepting applications for its Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund. All applications are currently being reviewed.
  • As of 5 p.m. on April 6, the Maryland Department of Commerce is no longer accepting new applications for its Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant and Loan Programs. All applications that have been submitted are currently being reviewed in the order received.
  • The Maryland State Arts Council has created special grant opportunities that provide emergency funding to arts organizations and artists in Maryland. Learn more.
  • The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) is requesting heritage tourism nonprofits apply for emergency operating matching grants of up to $20,000.
  • The Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) has launched the Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program to help Maryland's food and fiber producers, harvesters, and primary processors adjust to business disruptions. Learn more.
  • The Maryland Business Relief Wizard is a tool that can help Maryland businesses quickly identify the state and federal relief resources they may be eligible to receive.

Federal Programs

Paycheck Protection Program

  • On April 24, the fourth federal package was signed into law to provide relief to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. $310 billion is set to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program. The program will relaunch on Monday, April 27, at 10:30 AM.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan guarantees to small businesses to assist with payroll costs for workers who are forced to stay home. Loans will be available for firms that meet SBA small business size standards, self-employed, sole proprietors, independent contractors (i.e., workers in the “gig” economy), and certain nonprofits including 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(19)s, and tribal business concerns with fewer than 500 employees.
  • The goal of these loans is to help businesses keep workers on the payroll; if they keep all employees on the payroll for eight weeks and use the funds for expenses like payroll, rent and utilities, the SBA will forgive the loan.

The Paycheck Protection Program provides federal guarantees for forgivable loans issued by banks and other lenders to small businesses. Consult with your existing lender first to see if they are participating in the program or find a participating lender in your area here.

Find the Loan Forgiveness Application and Instructions here.

Read an FAQ here, and learn more about the program here.

Small Business Administration

  • Governor Hogan announced on March 19 that the entire state of Maryland has received official designation for SBA assistance. Individual businesses affected by the outbreak can apply directly to the SBA for low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Visit SBA's website to apply now.
  • On April 24, the fourth federal package was signed into law to provide relief to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. $50 billion will be used for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and $10 billion for EIDL grants.
  • This grant or "advance" may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.
  • The expansion of the EIDL program now includes tribal businesses, cooperatives, ESOP’s, individual contractors, sole proprietors, and private non-profits with less than 500 employees.
  • For businesses who have a relationship with an SBA lender, look into an SBA Express Bridge Loan while waiting on the EIDL program.
  • SBA is also allowing small businesses with existing loans to defer payments by up to six months to supplement their cash flow during the crisis. Those businesses should reach out to their lenders to talk about this sort of modification.

General SBA guidance for businesses can be found here. If you need additional help navigating the SBA process, help is available. Use this tool to find local assistance, including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE business mentors, and more.

For even more help, join one of SBA’s daily webinars or conference calls.
 • 3:00 pm, Daily Call – 202-765-1264; ID # 827-299-626
 • 5:30 pm, Daily Call – 202-765-1264, ID # 310-688-488
 • 10:30 am and 8:00 pm – Zoom Webinar. Download the ZOOM app for free. Meeting # 6794772946. Have all your necessary documents ready.

You can also call SBA’s Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. Deaf and hard-of-hearing customers may contact 800-877-8339.

The CARES Act

The CARES Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. Read an overview here and a Q&A from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship can be found here. More information from the U.S. Department of the Treasury can be found here. An eligibility guide for businesses can be found here.

In addition to establishing the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act creates several new resources to assist businesses during this crisis:

  • Relief to States and Territories
    • The CARES Act also creates a $150 billion Coronavirus relief fund for states and territories.
    • $139 billion is set aside for states and is allocated based on population, using latest census data. There is a minimum of $1.25 billion per state. Maryland is expected to receive an estimated $2.344 billion. Local governments in jurisdictions with populations of at least 500,000 may request a direct payment from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
      
  • Payroll Tax Credit
    • The CARES Act establishes a refundable, 50% payroll tax credit (the Employee Retention Credit) covering up to $10,000 paid per employee, including benefits from the period of March 13, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Read more, and find additional IRS guidance on Coronavirus tax relief here.
      
  • Additional Provisions
    • For companies with more than 500 employees, the CARES Act provides $500 billion distributed to distressed industries, including passenger airlines, cargo air carriers, and industries related to national security. Read more.
    • The CARES Act also includes support for economic development agencies and programs, including funding for the Community Development Block Grant, assistance to minority business development centers and minority chambers of commerce, several million for state arts and humanities agencies and partners, and more, to assist businesses in need. Read more.

Independent Lenders

Maryland banks, credit unions, and financial service providers are operating under precautionary measures, with increased focus on mobile, phone, and online services. If you anticipate having trouble making a loan payment, please notify your lender or loan servicing company as soon as possible to discuss your options. Early and regular communication is important. More information from the Maryland Bankers Association. And, view a list of credit unions operating in Maryland and their contact information.

Local Programs

  • Anne Arundel County has established a new grant fund to help small businesses prepare for re-opening. Read more. Anne Arundel County is also working to compile information about businesses and organizations impacted. Fill out this survey.
  • Baltimore City has created a grant fund to assist local manufacturers with start-up costs related to the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Read more. They are also providing $15,000 grants to small business enterprises in certain commercial areas. Apply here.
  • Baltimore County has announced $10 million in new grant funding for small businesses, as well as $100,000 for impacted artists, musicians, and performers. Small businesses can apply on the department’s economic and workforce development website starting May 11.
  • The City of Brunswick has created a micro-grant program with a one-time award of $1,000 with no repayment due.
  • Carroll County is expanding its Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund by $250,000 to include those who are sole proprietors and home-based businesses. Read more.
  • Cecil County is offering a new relief loan program called Cecil Catalyst. An application can be found here. They are also asking businesses to complete this survey.
  • Charles County has created the COVID-19 Business Relief Fund to help local businesses during this pandemic.
  • Harford County is providing two types of relief grants to small businesses and farm businesses. Learn more.
  • Frederick County has created a $5 million Jump Start grants program for small businesses, micro businesses, and full-time farmers.
  • Garrett County has launched the Kick-Start Grant Program to provide one-time support to small businesses and sole proprietors impacted by COVID-19.
  • Kent County is offering nearly 80 emergency grants to small businesses worth $1,000 each. Learn more.
  • Montgomery County has created an emergency grant program to provide $20 million in funding for those impacted by the pandemic.
  • Prince George’s County is providing $15 million for the COVID-19 Business Relief Fund. Small businesses will have access to loans up to $100,000 and grant funding of up to $10,000. Read more.
    • The county is also coordinating efforts for a public-private partnership, which will provide an additional $900,000 in grants. Read more.
    • Lastly, the county launched its Hourly Employee Relief Fund. The fund is available for laid-off hourly workers who earned less than $19 an hour. Read more.
  • Queen Anne’s County has announced its Small Business Assistance and Recovery Fund to assist local businesses in need.

Reopening the Economy

As businesses slowly transition to reopening, we will be sharing guidance and best practices for Maryland’s companies on our website at open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness. Please continue to check back for more details as they become available.

  • Governor Hogan has been working towards a recovery plan for the state of Maryland with a team of doctors and public health experts. It is essential that the plan move gradually in a safe, well thought-out way, to ensure the health and well being of Marylanders.
    • To learn more about the four building blocks, the recovery team, flattening the curve, and the stages of recovery, read the complete “Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery” report at governor.maryland.gov/recovery.
  • As of May 13, Governor Hogan announced the beginning of Stage One of recovery. This is a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. Because of this, businesses should check with their local and county governments for specific limitations and reopening regulations in their area. Find links to each of the state’s 24 jurisdictions here.
  • As of May 15, Maryland will move from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory. Read the executive order.
  • Also as of May 15, religious facilities and retail establishments may open to the general public but must not exceed 50 percent of their maximum occupancy at any time. Additionally, all manufacturing businesses and facilities may open, as well as beauty salons and barber shops with certain restrictions. Read the executive order.
  • As of May 7, Governor Hogan has broadened the list of permitted outdoor activities. Read the executive order and find more details about recreational activities through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Business Closures & Restrictions During COVID-19

  • As of April 18, the use of face coverings are required on public transportation and inside all retail establishments. The order is effective for customers and workers of retail stores, as well as inside foodservice establishments. Read the executive order.
  • As of April 5, health officials from each county and Baltimore City are authorized to close locations that are unsafe and at risk for spreading COVID-19. Businesses, organizations and other facilities may be instructed to modify their operations or movements to comply with social distancing guidelines or ordered to close altogether. Read the executive order.
  • As of March 23, all non-essential businesses in Maryland are ordered to close to the general publicRead Governor Hogan's executive order for more information. For guidance on this order, including a list of businesses, organizations and facilities which may remain open, please read the interpretive guidance herehere and here. If “essential” or “non-essential” status is still unclear, please use this as guidance. This list draws on federal guidance regarding the essential critical workforce, which can be found here.
    • If you have a question whether or not your business is essential, please contact secretary.commerce@maryland.gov.
    • If you have other questions pertaining to essential or non-essential businesses, please email psector@maryland.gov, which is monitored by the Maryland Emergency Management team.
    • We encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking. We also encourage companies to find other methods to continue providing services, whether that is through remote-assistance or off-site delivery services.
  • Closure of all Entertainment Venues and Enclosed Shopping Malls - This includes bowling alleys, amusement parks, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks, and other venues, and is in addition to the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers that was previously announced. Businesses which provide drive-through, carry-out, and food delivery services may continue to do so. Read about specific closures in the executive order
  • Carry-out and Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages - Businesses that serve alcohol are now permitted to provide carry-out and delivery of alcoholic beverages. Read the executive order.
  • Child Care Providers - As of March 27, all child care providers are to be closed, except those serving essential personnel. For more information on eligible programs or centers looking to reopen, click here.
  • Restricted Gatherings of More than 10 People - Social, community, religious, recreation, and sporting events and gatherings of more than 10 people are now strictly prohibited in all locations and venues in Maryland. This follows updated CDC guidelines. Read more about the restrictions in the executive order.
  • Businesses Permitted to Operate
    • If your business is one that is permitted by the executive order to remain open, and you choose to do so, it is critical that you follow social distancing guidelines and effective cleaning and disinfection, and do everything in your power to prevent groups of 10 or more people from congregating in one area. Public utility, such as the need to provide food or essential supplies, must be balanced with the need to preserve public health. Guidance from the CDC for businesses is available here.
    • Please know that we encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking. We also encourage companies to find other methods to continue providing services, whether that is through remote-assistance or off-site delivery services.
    • Currently, there is not a state-issued "Letter of Clearance" or similar document for essential business employees to carry with them. While it is not necessary for drivers in Maryland to have documentation about their purpose of travel, having it may help resolve questions. We strongly recommend that employers draft and print their own letters containing the following items - click here.
  • Restricted Use of Public Transportation - Public transit such as MARC, Amtrak, Metro, or bus services should be used for essential travel only. Essential travel means taking trips to work, hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, schools, to provide care for family members, and other similar destinations. By reducing unnecessary travel, transit becomes safer for those who depend on it, especially essential healthcare workers, and for those who operate it. We encourage all employers to consider telework options where possible. Please visit the Maryland Transit Administration for specifics on essential travel and updated route and scheduling information.

Public Health Emergency Protection Act

The Governor signed emergency legislation on March 19, 2020 that includes:

  • No Fees or Co-pays for COVID-19 Tests - Ensuring that Marylanders will not be charged fees or co-pays for COVID-19 tests.
  • No Price-Gouging - Prohibits price-gouging for food, fuel, medicine, cleaning products and other essential supplies.
  • Workers Cannot be Terminated - Guarantees that Marylanders cannot be terminated from their jobs because they have been isolated or quarantined.
  • Unemployment Benefits - Will allow the Secretary of Labor to extend unemployment benefits to workers who cannot work because they are quarantined, at risk for exposure, or to care for a family member with COVID-19.

Taxes

  • Maryland business and individual income taxpayers will be given a 90-day extension for tax payments. No interest or penalty for late payments will be imposed if 2019 tax payments are made by July 15, 2020. See 90-day extension for tax payments for more information, or reach out to taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov with questions.
  • Comptroller Franchot also extended business-related tax filing deadlines to June 1. Get additional information regarding business tax returns - including sales and use tax, alcohol tax, etc. - and income tax extensions. For even more information, visit the Maryland Comptroller’s website.
  • Businesses who paid their Maryland Sales & Use Taxes for March early may request a refund of their payment by emailing taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov or by calling 410-260-4020.  
  • Taxpayers who have set up a payment through their own online banking services will need to stop that transaction through their banks. Taxpayers who have scheduled a payment through the Comptroller’s iFIle or bFile can request to have a debit from their account stopped as long as it is at least 3 days prior to the scheduled payment date. If taxpayers have individual requests for assistance, they should contact Taxpayer Services at 410-260-7980 or via email at taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov.
  • The federal tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15. Learn more, and find additional IRS guidance on Coronavirus tax relief here
  • Guidance on COVID-19-related tax credits for businesses providing paid sick-leave can be found here.
  • The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) automatically extended the 2020 deadline to submit Annual Reports and Personal Property Tax Returns to July 15 as part of the Hogan administration’s response to COVID-19.
    • In accordance with Governor Hogan’s executive orders, expiration dates for trade names and name reservations, as well as entity forfeiture dates, will also be extended to 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded.
    • The majority of Charter and Personal Property filings can be completed online through Maryland Business Express, and turnaround times for those filings remain unchanged.
    • All tax credit applications can also be submitted online; homeowners’ and renters’ tax credit applications can be submitted through Maryland One Stop, and homestead tax credit applications through SDAT’s website. Online applications will be immediately acknowledged as received, but all applications are taking longer to process at this time.
    • PDFs of all SDAT filings and applications may also be downloaded, printed, and mailed, although the Department strongly encourages customers to complete transactions online when possible as paper fillings will take significantly longer to process.

Employer & Worker Assistance

Licensing & Permitting

Utilities

  • Customers with questions about how their gas and electric service or their utility bills may be impacted by COVID-19 can find information and FAQs on the websites of their utility providers.
    • BGE customers can find information here.
    • PEPCO customers can find information here.
    • PotomacEdison customers can find information here.
    • Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) customers can find information here.
    • Easton Utilities customers can find information here.
    • Delmarva Power customers can find information here.

Offers, Donations & Volunteer Resources

We have received several requests from businesses and individuals regarding resources and donations.

  • Vendors wishing to contract with the State of Maryland to lease, manufacture or supply goods or services, please contact resource.mema@maryland.gov.
  • Donations: MEMA will accept product donations which are:
    • Larger corporate donations delivered/transported by commercial carriers. Ex: 5 pallets of bottled water delivered via DHL or England, etc.
    • Donations must be PACKAGED in their original packaging/shrink wrap. Ex: Boxed medical gowns or scrubs in sealed unopened sleeves in a sealed shrink wrapped box. No opened or repackaged donations will be accepted by the state.
    • For businesses, please enter your donation into this database.
    • For non-profits, non-government organizations, and individuals, please enter your donations into this database.
    • MEMA will accept corporate services donations. Companies who wish to donate services should contact psector@maryland.gov.
    • For Maryland manufacturers looking to sell or donate supplies, click here for critical needs.
  • Donations are also being accepted at four drop off locations in Maryland. Accepted items include specialized medical equipment and some cleaning supplies. Find more information here.
    • Cambridge: 3105 Mallard Court, Cambridge, MD 21613
    • Ellicott City: 3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042
    • Hagerstown: 10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742
    • Silver Spring: 15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905
  • Requests: MEMA does not accept direct requests for PPEs or other items from companies. Companies should contact their local jurisdiction via the Emergency Manager Contact List, which will work with MEMA to fulfill requests.
  • Volunteers: MEMA will be the point of contact for LARGE Corporate Volunteers. Those wishing to volunteer large groups of staff and or a multi-jurisdiction statewide scale should send mail to ngs.mema@Maryland.gov. Currently, the largest volunteer opportunity is the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps.
  • For charities or community organizations that need help, email ngs.mema@maryland.gov.
  • To find even more ways Marylanders can help, visit Maryland Unites.

Educational Information

  • The Department of Health hosted a webinar featuring information and guidance for businesses about coronavirus and preventing its spread in the workplace here or watch the recording here.

Enforcement

  • The Maryland State Police is actively engaged in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they work to protect the citizens of Maryland, they will be involved, when needed, in the enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • The state is hoping for voluntary compliance with business closures. If a need for law enforcement arises, Maryland State Police will take prompt appropriate action, in partnership with state’s attorneys and local law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs across Maryland.
  • Contact will first be made with the owner or manager of the establishment. If voluntary compliance does not occur, action will be taken. That could result in the issuance of a criminal summons or warrant, or it could result in immediate arrest, depending on the circumstances in the particular situation.
  • Violation of a Governor’s Executive Order declared during a state of emergency is punishable for a fine of up to $5,000 or one-year in jail or both.
  • Separately, price gouging is illegal during an emergency and should be reported to the Maryland Attorney General's office. Complaints can be filed online or over the phone. Click here for more information.

More Information

We encourage members of the business community to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.

We also recommend that everyone regularly visit the Maryland Department of Health for the latest information on coronavirus and the Office of Governor Larry Hogan for updates on the state’s response to the outbreak.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has activated its Virtual Business Operation Center (VBOC) as of March 6 to address inquiries from the private sector. Businesses that are interested in emergency operations engagement can learn more through MEMA's Private Sector Integration Program.

The State of Maryland is committed to helping protect the health and well-being of all Marylanders. Thank you for being our partner as we face this challenge together.

Updated on May 22nd, 2020 03:15PM