Another update on COVID-19- State resources available to employees and small businesses

March 23, 2020

Some have asked me why I haven’t sent out a session wrap-up yet. With everything going on, I wanted to focus on getting information to you with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, and not inundate you with other things. Given the very interesting times we are living through, I felt that was a better approach. That being said, I will get a session wrap-up out by the end of the week. I’m very proud of the work we have done this session, and I want to inform you of that work as well.

I’m going to make one except, and give you the details of our emergency legislation we passed at the very end to provide necessary resources to the Governor to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Other Information in this email:
* Today’s announcement of Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on business closings and other information information
* Department of Labor’s Layoff Aversion Plan
* Emergency Relief Programs for Small Businesses and Manufacturing
* Reminder about MCPS’ food distribution
* Reminder about the Census and Voting by Absentee Ballot

As always, if there is something that you need help with or need to reach out about, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Contact information is available on my website HERE.

COVID-19 Emergency Legislation

Since the beginning of the crisis, the Maryland House of Delegates and the State Senate have been united in their support of the Governor and his efforts to respond to the outbreak. Prior to our early adjournment, the legislature took immediate action and passed bills related to the present emergency. SB 1079 (State Budget – Revenue Stabilization Account Transfers – Coronavirus) provides the Governor with up to $50 million from the State’s Rainy Day Fund to help respond to the public health threat. COVID–19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 (HB 1663) allows the Governor to take specific actions to expand healthcare benefits and protect workers in response to the public health threat. These actions include requirements that the Maryland Department of Health cover the cost of COVID–19 testing, a vaccine (should one become available) and any associated costs not paid for by insurance or another third party. The legislation also includes protections against price gouging, expands telehealth services and expands unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are temporarily out of work or quarantined due to the virus. For more information on unemployment insurance, please visit https://www.dllr.state.md.us/. No doubt, further action will be required later to support our working families, small businesses, and others significantly impacted by the pandemic and the public health response.

The General Assembly has also created a Joint COVID-19 Response Legislative Workgroup to provide oversight and support to the Administration in the coming weeks and months.

Governor Hogan’s Executive Order for March 23rd

As of 5pm today, Governor Hogan has ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Below, please find his order and a list of what is being deemed essential.

Hogan Order March 23a
Hogan Order March 23b

Department of Labor’s Layoff Aversion Plan

The Maryland Department of Labor has launched the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.

Labor is accepting grant applications from small businesses for awards from now through 30 days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability).

For more information about the Plan and how to apply, CLICK HERE.

Department of Commerce Small Business Emergency Relief Plan

If you are a Maryland-based business impacted by the Coronavirus with under 50 full- and part-time employees, or a Maryland manufacturer, check out the programs below to see if you qualify for assistance.

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – This $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. Learn more.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – This $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. Learn more.
Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More details are expected to be announced by Friday, March 27, 2020.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Montgomery County Public Schools Food Distribution

MCPS is providing free breakfast, lunch and dinner meals for children 18 years old and younger, and all MCPS students (regardless of age) at more than 40 sites (including mobile locations) throughout the county. Additionally, MCPS school buses will distribute meals in several communities.

MCPS is collaborating with Manna Food to distribute weekend backpack food sacks throughout the county. Distribution will take place on Fridays (locations TBD). Please visit MCPS’s Meal Distribution Service for Students link to see the most up-to-date list of meal sites.

Reminder about Census and Voting

Census

Please complete your 2020 Census online HERE.

2020 Primary Election on June 2nd

Also, don’t forget to order your Primary Election absentee ballot. Just because the Primary has been postponed to June 2nd, doesn’t mean we know what will happen then. It’s best to get your absentee ballot. Outside of the Presidential primary, there are Congressional primary races and School Board races.

If you aren’t registered to vote, you have until three weeks prior to the Primary and you can do it online. Just CLICK HERE.

If you aren’t able to register, don’t worry, we have Election Day Voter Registration in Maryland, but you will have to show up at your polling location in person. To look up your polling location by address, CLICK HERE.

If you would like to order an absentee ballot to vote by mail, you can order a ballot by CLICKING HERE. Remember, you have to be registered to vote in order to order and get an absentee ballot.

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