COVID-19 UPDATES

Governor Hogan Announces Hospital Surge Measures, Statewide Capacity Restrictions

With widespread community transmission across the state and surging COVID-19 metrics across the country, Governor Larry Hogan announced immediate actions to prevent overburdening the state’s healthcare system and to keep more Marylanders from dying.

    • 10 PM closure of bars and restaurantsEffective Friday, November 20, at 5 p.m., all bars, restaurants, and venues serving food and alcohol must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for the purposes of carryout and delivery.
    • Limited capacity for retail, religious facilities. Capacity at retail establishments and religious facilities will be reduced to 50%, bringing them into line with indoor dining and personal services businesses, as well as bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, roller and ice skating rinks, fitness centers, and social and fraternal clubs.
    • Hospital surge measures. State health officials have issued an emergency order to prohibit all hospital visitation until further notice with some exceptions—including end-of-life care, obstetrics, parents or guardians of minors, and support for people with disabilities. Officials have issued an order allowing hospitals that are either full or nearing capacity limits to transfer patients to hospitals that are equipped to provide them with the care they need. Hospitals and other medical facilities are also warned to avoid any elective procedure admissions that are not urgent or life-saving—especially if they are likely to require prolonged artificial ventilation, ICU admissions, or may have a high probability of requiring post-hospital care in a skilled nursing facility.
    • Nursing home measures. Until further notice, indoor visitation at Maryland nursing homes will generally be limited to compassionate care, and all visitors must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their visit. State health officials have issued an order instituting mandatory twice-weekly testing for all staff at Maryland nursing homes, as well as mandatory weekly testing for all nursing home residents—effective no later than Friday, November 20. To tackle acute outbreaks, Governor Hogan is doubling the number of rapid response teams deployed to provide an extra level of triage and supplement local staffing needs11/14/20Charitable Deduction Incentives – The CARES Act provides incentives for charitable contributions. The provisions of the CARES Act allow non-itemizers to deduct up to $300 in cash giving for the 2020 tax year, encouraging donors to support their favorite nonprofits organizations with small, but essential gifts. This also incentivizes taxpayers at higher incomes – those that do itemize – to increase their charitable giving by lifting the cap on annual giving, increasing it from 60% to 100% of adjusted gross income. Many individual donors are unaware of these new charitable giving incentives. Nonprofits should consider communicating this information with donors and leveraging these new tax incentives to increase giving in this time of need. Learn more here https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/relief-to-nonprofits-and-incentives-for-64246/11/10/20

      Maryland Takes Action to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Indoor dining. The governor issued an emergency order reducing indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50%, effective November 11 at 5 p.m. Bars and restaurants are permitted to be open for seated and distanced service only, with strict capacity restrictions.

    • Indoor gatherings. With contact tracing data showing an uptick in cases resulting from family gatherings and house parties, state health officials have issued a public health advisory strongly discouraging indoor gatherings of 25 people or more.
    • Travel advisory. Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline.
    • Telework. Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Budget and Management to immediately execute a period of mandatory telework across state agencies, except for essential direct public-facing services and other essential personnel. State officials strongly encourage all businesses to take immediate steps to expand telework.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions About Testing – from the Maryland Department of Health – Updated October 15, 2020 Maryland Department of Health – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions about Testing

10/22/20

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:

Working capital, such as rent and purchase of equipment and services to expand outdoor dining through physical improvements including tents, heaters, warmers, and carts
Sanitization services
Purchase of PPE
Technology to support carryout and delivery
Infrastructure improvements, including HVAC system upgrades
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 Businesses

The 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.

10/14/20

PPPL News – Last week, the Treasury Department & SBA released a new, simplified form for businesses seeking forgiveness of PPP loans totaling less than $50,000. There is also bipartisan support in Congress for a simplified loan forgiveness process for businesses that borrowed up to $150,000 in PPP loans. Here’s an overview of the steps needed to get your PPP loan forgiven here.

9/30/20

Access to Capital –A three part webinars series presented by Maryland SBDC Maryland underserved businesses with five or fewer employees and annual sales of less than $100,000 have access to a unique micro lending program offered through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Free Online Webinar – 1:30 – 3:30 PM EDT. Register here.

10/5/20 – Part 1: What is a CDFI??

10/7/20 – Part 2: Meet the Lenders’ Round table Q&A

10/9/20 – Part 3: Preparing your Business Financing Package

9/21/20

The 1st ever Maryland (state-wide) Restaurant Week starts today and runs through Sept 27th. First-Ever Maryland Restaurant Week Begins On Friday – WJZ. To see which restaurants near you are participating, and their delicious deals, click here. Check back during the week for new restaurant deals added. Take out and dine in offers

Webinar – Explore New Opportunities – Data Center Attraction on the Eastern Shore – Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 2:30pm

Learn more with Steve Naumann, Data Center Practitioner, U.S. General Services Administration, Dee Anna Sobczak, CEO. Kent Fiber Optic Systems, Richard Mallory, Program Manager and David Giusati, DCEEG Program Manager Maryland Energy Administration. Register via Microsoft Teams by sending an email to jlwilliams@kentgov.org or Call 1-872-239-8359 Conf. ID: 521 207 501#

8/19/20

SCORE’s Small Business Resilience Resource Portal – https://www.score.org/recovery/small-business-resilience-resource-portal There’s a lot of support to help your small business. SCORE has created a comprehensive-yet-clear resource portal to help you find the specific information, government resources and financial support you need, to position your business for future success.

7/17/20

Funding – Federal Reserve Board modifies Main Street Lending Program to provide greater access to credit for nonprofit organizations such as educational institutions, hospitals, and social service organizations https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20200717a.htm 

7/10/20

Attention HR- Treasury and IRS issue guidance on reporting qualified sick and family leave wages paid

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service provided guidance in Notice 2020-54 to employers requiring them to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on Form W-2.

Employers will be required to report these amounts either on Form W-2, Box 14, or in a statement provided with the Form W-2. The guidance provides employers with optional language to use in the Form W-2 instructions for employees. The wage amount that the notice requires employers to report on Form W-2 will provide self-employed individuals who are also employees with the information necessary to determine the amount of any sick and family leave equivalent credits they may claim in their self-employed capacities. Additional information about tax relief for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on IRS.gov.

 

6/12/20- Best Practices

6/10/20

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has been tracking the contributions from businesses of all sizes and sectors that are helping combat the coronavirus. This tracker is updated daily, and they’d love to include your information. Share your story.  Corporate Aid Tracker
    6/9/20The new PPP law updates:
    Lengthens the loan forgiveness period from eight weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Lowers the amount of PPP funds that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60% and allows 40% for other qualifying expenses.
  • Delays employer payroll tax payments through the end of 2020.
  • Exempts borrowers from the FTE loan forgiveness reduction if borrowers are unable to return to the same level of business activity as before Feb. 15th due to Covid-19.

As of 5/26/20

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application

The SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Click here to view the application and instructions

As of 5/19/20

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce– New Digital Resources Center provides the latest state guidelines, sector-specific guidance, small business advice, and other tools and resources to help employers and employees return to work safely and successfully. These tools and resources to be updated as new information becomes available.  State-Specific Guidance | Sector-Specific Guidance | Small Business-Specific Guidance

Link to PPPL and EIDL applications – https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

Relief Wizard Tool – If you answer the questions, the relief wizard will point you to the programs you are eligible to apply for, based on your answers.  https://reliefwizard.net/

  • Maryland Tax Filing Date Extension – July 15   Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced another extension of the business-related tax filing deadline to July 15. This is the second time he announced an extension. Business taxpayers who file and pay by the extended due date will receive a waiver of interest and penalties. The federal government extended the deadline for filing 2019 income tax returns and submitting 2019 income tax payments by 90 days to July 15. Maryland has granted the same relief to individual, corporate, pass-through entity, estate and fiduciary taxpayers. Please obtain full details from your accountant. Businesses with questions can also contact the comptroller’s office: taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov or ombudsman@marylandtaxes.gov
  • USDA Opens Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Funding USDA has opened funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. $25 million that Congress recently provided to the program under the CARES Act. Electronic applications for the second application window may be submitted through grants.gov and are due no later than July 13, 2020. Additional information on how to apply is now available on grants.gov. Applicants eligible for DLT grants include most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses.