Governor Larry Hogan today held a press conference with Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Maryland Housing and Community Development Secretary Ken Holt to launch a major new economic recovery initiative.
Governor Hogan began the press conference by providing an update on Maryland’s COVID-19 health and economic recovery, stating that key health metrics continue to remain low and stable with a statewide positivity rate of 3.1%. Maryland health officials are closely monitoring an uptick in hospitalizations, although there has still a 73% decline since the peak in May. He stated that according to the CDC, Maryland currently has one of the lowest death rates in the country with just 0.7 new deaths per 100,000 people, but added that “we can’t let our guard down, and we should remain vigilant even when we are in close contact with people we know and love.”
According to Governor Hogan, Maryland kept 70 percent of its economy open throughout the pandemic, adding that Maryland has regained 195,000 jobs lost amidst the pandemic.
“Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative”
Governor Hogan announced the ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative,’ which includes a new investment of $250 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, for a total economic relief package of $500 million. This new $250 million investment will fund a combination of new relief programs and an expansion of current relief programs:
Small Business Grants: $50 million for the third installment of the ‘Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund’ to fully fund the backlog of grant applications that have already been received and reviewed by the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Restaurant Relief: $50 million in direct grant relief for restaurants. Eligible uses of these funds include working capital, sanitization services, payroll and rent, purchase of PPE, upgraded technology, and infrastructure improvements.
Main Street Relief: $20 million to hard-hit business and local entertainment venues within Main Street Maryland organizations and Baltimore Main Street programs.
Workforce Retention: $20 million to the state’s ‘COVID-10 Layoff Aversion Fund’ to help small businesses.
Small and Minority Business Low-Interest Loans: $5 million to double funding for low-interest loans to small and minority businesses.
Hometown Tourism Program: $2 million to support hometown tourism efforts that promote restaurants, local attractions, and shops.
Arts Organization Funding: Additional $3 million for the Maryland State Arts Council’s Emergency Grant Program.
Rapid Response Fund: $100 million dedicated emergency rapid response fund of $100 million available immediately to deploy to other areas of economic need.
“This has been a very long and difficult year for all of us, but the only way we can continue to make progress is by all of us doing our part and looking out for one another,” stated Hogan, “We need to recommit to the simple actions that can keep our families and our neighbors safe.”
Watch the full press conference here.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.