The Cecil County Office of Economic Development (CCOED) on November 16 will begin to accept applications for a new program that will provide grants of up to $30,000 to the County’s restaurants and foodservice businesses.
The Cecil Restaurant Relief grant program is specifically targeted to food trucks, catering businesses, bed and breakfast establishments, and dine-in restaurants. Eligible businesses may use grant funds to cover operating expenses such as rent, payroll, and utilities, as well as costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, ensuring sanitary physical spaces, and implementing online customer engagement and transactions.
“This is a wonderful program that can and will assist many of our Cecil County restaurants who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” said County Executive Alan McCarthy. “I encourage all eligible establishments to apply for this funding, and I commend our Office of Economic Development and Finance Department staff for continuing to provide services and support to our small businesses and their employees.”
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Larry Hogan recently announced that the state will provide county governments with a total of $50 million to support direct aid to local restaurants and foodservice businesses. Counties must allocate all funds by December 31, 2020.
Cecil County will receive $660,000 from the state initiative. There will be three funding levels of grants — $10,000, $20,000, and $30,000 — which are based on an eligible business’ number of employees.
According to a County press release:
“We are excited to have this influx of additional relief funding to help our food and beverage service establishments survive the winter months during a pandemic that’s not expected to end any time soon” said Sandra Edwards, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development. “Every little bit helps and everyone can help by supporting our local restaurants throughout the winter.”
Cecil Restaurant Relief grant funds must be used solely for expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 and fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Working capital, such as rent, payroll, marketing, and job training
- Purchase of equipment and services to expand outdoor dining, such as tents, heaters, warmers, and carts
- Infrastructure improvements, such as HVAC system upgrades
- Technology to support carryout and delivery
- Purchase of PPE and disposable food containers and utensils
- Sanitization services
Grant funds cannot be used to pay for expenses or costs covered by any other grant or forgivable loan.
To qualify, a business must:
- Be located in Cecil County, MD;
- Own, rent, or lease a permanent or mobile commercial food and/or beverage service location in Cecil County (home-based food service establishments are not eligible);
- Maintain food and/or beverage service as primary operation;
- Have been in operation prior to October 1, 2020 and must operate year-round (seasonal businesses are not eligible);
- Be open to the public for on-site food and/or beverage preparation and service a minimum of 35 hours a week;
- Be in good standing with Cecil County Government, and registered with the state, if required to do so by law;
- Not be a franchise or national chain unless locally owned and operated;
- Not have a drive – through pickup window; and
- Employ at least 1 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee. FTE = total average of part-time hours worked per week by non-owners/30 + total number of full-time, non-owner employees + one owner (if owner is engaged in day-to-day operations).
Businesses that received previous county, state, or federal COVID support are eligible to receive a Cecil Restaurant Relief grant.
Applicants should thoroughly review the eligibility and application process prior to applying. The grant opens at 8:00 a.m. (EST) on Monday, November 16, 2020. Applications will NOT be accepted prior to this time. The deadline to apply is 4:00 p.m. on November 20, 2020. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in ineligibility for program funding. If an incomplete application is received, the applicant will be notified of the issue and asked to rectify and resubmit within a specific time frame. If an outstanding issue(s) cannot be addressed in the specified time frame, the application may be denied.