OAKLAND — Throughout the pandemic, Garrett County government, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Commerce, has created several small business assistance grants. The grant programs are administered by Garrett County Department of Economic Development.

Lodging and restaurant businesses were awarded grants for expenses associated with adjusting operations and procedures due to COVID-19.

“Our small business community is the backbone of the Garrett County economy,” said Kim Durst, Garrett County manager of business development. “These grant funds were instrumental in helping 90 local businesses.”

The hotel relief grant program from the Maryland Department of Commerce provided nearly $1 million to 16 local businesses. An average of $1,766 per room was allocated for COVID-19 relief.

For two rounds of restaurant relief grants from the Maryland Department of Commerce and Garrett County government, 74 local businesses were awarded assistance; 60 food service businesses received a grant of $10,000 each and 14 businesses received grants of $5,000 each.

The county and the Garrett County Health Department received $5 million in federal COVID relief funding. The county, in consultation with the health department and municipal leaders, developed a plan to set parameters on local funding for small businesses, investments in technology, reemployment of the workforce and reconfiguring of business processes.

This award, along with $319,894 in additional state funding, presented the opportunity to cover not only county costs but to assist the municipalities, community partners and local small businesses that experienced unexpected costs due to the pandemic.

The county commissioners approved funding for technology infrastructure/distance learning/telework, $1.6 million; public health, $1.1 million; public safety/emergency services, $631,564; essential personnel, $562,424; Community Action/community social services, $427,684; small business assistance, $423,799; restaurant assistance, $319,894; municipalities, $218,839; fire rescue/emergency medical services, $128,200; and $34,764 unallocated.

“During these unprecedented times, Garrett County has, once again, pulled together,” said county commission chair Paul Edwards. “We have been able to add important infrastructure and offer needed assistance in light of this pandemic.

Garrett COVID-19 information continues to be available at garretthealth.org or call 301-334-7698.

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