Support for Businesses and Workers Impacted by COVID-19

In addition to the Small Business Administration’s federal disaster assistance program, and the reported $367 billion small business loan fund agreed to in the “phase three” disaster relief deal, the state governments in the region are offering various levels of assistance for businesses and employees who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the broad closures and economic downturn that have occurred as a result.

The Maryland Department of Labor has created a Layoff Aversion Fund, which will offer grants of up to $50,000 for businesses to defray the costs of setting up remote workspaces, workplace sanitization costs, professional development for affected employees, and for those companies that participate in the state’s long-standing Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program.

The Maryland Department of Commerce has also implemented a $130 million grant and loan program for small businesses and manufacturers in the state. Tens of millions of dollars in low- or no-interest loans are available, as are direct cash grants of up to $10,000, designed to help small businesses stay afloat for a short period of time after a drastic downturn in business.

Both Virginia and Maryland have waived the usual one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits, and both states have waived their prior job-search requirements as well. The Virginia Employment  Commission is also seeking input from business leaders on the impact COVID-19 has had on their operations, as the commonwealth decides on how to provide additional support for affected companies.

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