Resources for Businesses

GUIDANCE FOR ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES

The following information comes from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

 

Essential Businesses:

As of March 23, Governor Hogan has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, including all establishments and facilities that are not part of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). To see the CISA guidance for identifying Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, click here.

 

Please note that as of March 28, 2020, the CISA guidelines have been changed to include commercial facilities, residential/shelter facilities, and hygiene products and services. As noted in the opening memo of the document, this guidance is not an exhaustive list. If you are unsure whether your business is essential, please see the clarification below.

 

The Maryland Office of Legal Counsel has released interpretive guidance to clarify the governor's order. According to the latest interpretive guidance, if a business is still unsure whether it is essential or non-essential, it should:

1.       First, carefully review the Order, all available guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and all Interpretive Guidance issued by OLC (links below) to confirm that the business, organization, or facility is not addressed in some way.

2.       Second, if “non-essential” status is still unclear, make a good faith determination about whether it is “non-essential”, based on:

a.       the Order’s purpose, which is to “reduce the threat to human health caused by the transmission of the novel coronavirus in Maryland, and to protect and save lives”; and

b.       how similar businesses, organizations, and facilities are treated under the Order.

1.       Third, if the business, organization, or facility decides to remain open pending more detailed legal advice, strictly adhere to all applicable guidance from the CDC, MDH, and OSHA regarding social-distancing and environmental cleaning and disinfection. 

 

If you are a business that is permitted to operate, you are required to follow healthy protocols such as social distancing and effective cleaning and disinfection. You can find more guidance from the CDC by clicking here

 

Further guidance can be found by visiting the following links:

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-05.pdf

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-06.pdf

 

We know this is a difficult and frustrating time, but we are still here to support your business. For additional information, including health protocols, financial assistance, unemployment insurance, and more, check our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses webpage for the latest information and guidance. This site will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. It includes an FAQ that will also be updated regularly.

 

Letter for Essential Employees:

 

Currently, there is not a state-issued "Letter of Clearance" or similar document for employees of essential businesses to carry.  It is recommended that employers draft and print their own letters containing:

 

  1. The name and address of the employee
  2. The name and address of the business
  3. The nature of the employee’s work and reason why the employee’s work fits the definition of essential
  4. The signature and contact information of the employer

 

It is recommended that employees carry such a letter on their person when traveling to-from work.

Update on 3/30
This is an excellent guide to the federal COVID-19 relief program for small businesses from Senator Ben Cardin's office: 
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act


Update on 3/24

The State of Maryland has issued additional information related to businesses that are considered “essential".
Read Interpretive Guidance.

Update on 3/23:
Governor Hogan has just announced programs to help businesses during this crisis. 

    • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund - This $75 million loan fund offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
    • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - This $50 million grant program offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.

      Governor Hogan has issued an executive order requiring all nonessential businesses in the state to close. 

      For guidance, here is a detailed – but not exhaustive – list of businesses that are considered essential.


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance For Charles County Businesses

Small business owners in Charles County are currently eligible to apply for a long-term, low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help you overcome the temporary loss of revenue you are experiencing.

Get more information and application.

For local assistance to Charles County Businesses, contact Lucretia Freeman-Buster, Chief of Business Development at BusterL@MeetCharlesCounty.com or the Southern Maryland Small Business Development Center.

Download EIDL Fact Sheet

 

The Maryland Business Express website is a comprehensive resource with links to many programs and agencies that have established assistance for businesses. This site is a joint effort of the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Labor and is kept current with extensive information and links specific to business and employment resources in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is updated daily as new information comes in.

Add your business to our Status Updates for Local Business web page.

Nonprofits: The Nonprofit Institute at the College of Southern Maryland is operating remotely and is available for assistance to nonprofit organizations. Their COVID-19 web page has nonprofit-specific resources that can offer immediate help to Southern Maryland nonprofit organizations.

Other Links:
Maryland Governor Hogan Executive Orders

Maryland business tax extensions announced by Comptroller Franchot

Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 Website

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information COVID-19 for businesses

Charles County Government COVID-19 information

Contact the Charles County Economic Development Team.

Views from Charles

Thriving In An Unsettled Business Environment like COVID-19 Or Any Crisis

Published: Thursday, March 26, 2020
This is a guest blog post by entrepreneur Brianna Bowling, who offers business consulting and training through her company, Brindan, and is the owner of Retreat & Learn, a retreat center offering ...

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