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Governor Larry Hogan today ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and announced a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor again urged Marylanders to help their neighbors by staying home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We are telling all Marylanders to follow all of the directives and to follow the state law against crowds of more than ten people,” said Governor Hogan. “And we are telling you, unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, stay in your home. Today’s actions of closing non-essential businesses are absolutely necessary to protect the health of Marylanders and to save lives.”
“To my fellow Marylanders, let me say that I know how difficult this is on each and every one of you,” continued the governor. “There is a great deal of fear and anxiety, and the truth is, none of us really know how bad this is going to get or how long it’s going to last. But I can promise you that there are a great many dedicated people doing tremendous things, working around the clock, and doing their very best to help keep Marylanders safe.”
Below is a list of the comprehensive actions Governor Hogan announced today:
CLOSURE OF ALL NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state, effective at 5 pm today.
In addition to what is already closed by prior orders, this order requires the closure of anything that is not included in the new federal guidelines for critical infrastructure sectors. Interpretive Guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel.
While this is not a shelter-in-place order, all Marylanders are urged to remain home and adhere to the governor’s guidance for social distancing. The governor announced that beginning today, further enforcement actions will be taken to disperse any gatherings in violation of the governor’s orders.
ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE: Governor Hogan announced more than $175 million to assist small businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information and resources about these programs is available at businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. A $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000. Additional eligibility requirements can be found here.
Maryland Commerce is also working on creating a $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry.