CUMBERLAND — More than $10 million has been awarded to 445 small businesses through the Maryland Department of Labor’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, saving more than 8,800 jobs.

One of several relief programs introduced by Gov. Larry Hogan in March, the fund quickly provided crucial financial assistance to Maryland’s small businesses and helped them to forego layoffs and closures.

“The COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund is a critical part of our comprehensive relief efforts to help small businesses retain their employees and get through this difficult period,” said Hogan. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to help hard-pressed Marylanders and small businesses weather this storm and come back stronger than ever.”

Maryland has gained more than 156,000 jobs during the COVID recovery, and the unemployment rate decreased to 7.6%.

Recipients represent nearly 20 diverse industry sectors, ranging from health care to retail, and are located in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. Grantees 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 Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing employee income.

“From the onset of Maryland’s response to the pandemic, our administration has delivered solutions-oriented programs designed to support Maryland’s small businesses and workers undergoing financial stress,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson. “In just a matter of days, Labor created the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, reviewed applications and delivered essential financial relief directly to hundreds of small businesses, saving the jobs of nearly 9,000 Marylanders.”

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