OAKLAND — An existing grant program has been modified and a new one has been created to continue to assist Garrett County’s small businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Formerly known as the Garrett County Kick-Start Grant program, the modified grant will now be known as the Garrett County COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant. In addition, a new grant program known as the Garrett County Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Grant has been developed.

Garrett County Economic Development and the Garrett County Development Corp. officials said they are proud to offer both programs to meet the specific needs of the local businesses.

“Throughout the COVID-19 situation, we have been monitoring the feedback and the needs of our local small business community. Fortunately, we are able to revisit the initial grant program requirements to allow more businesses to be eligible,” said Michael Hough, director of Garrett County Economic Development. “We thank the Garrett County commissioners and the Garrett County Development Corp. for their ongoing contributions and support.”

First, the Garrett County COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant has been reworked to add self-employed individuals as eligible applicants and to remove the requirement that a business must apply for other COVID-19 assistance prior to application. The maximum award is $2,500 for native Garrett County businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately $18,000 remains for the purpose of providing one-time, short-term financial support to small businesses that meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

As part of the application process, small businesses must show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a plan to remain solvent and in business.

In addition, a second and new grant, the Personal Protection Equipment Grant, has been developed with an initial $200,000 fund. Native Garrett County businesses are eligible for a maximum of $1,000 to reimburse or cover the expected costs of purchasing plexiglass, signage, floor stickers, gloves, masks, sanitizer, and other items to keep staff and customers safe.

Specifically, this funding is to help small businesses meet the Phase 3 requirements of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Roadmap to Recovery plan.

For both grants, the small business must be a for-profit restaurant or other food service business of any size, a for-profit small business with no more than 25 employees (as of March 1), or a self-employed individual. Home-based businesses, churches or religious institutions, banks and financial institutions, investment/real-estate entities, government agencies, and independent contractors are not eligible to apply.

Business recipients of the Garrett County Kick-Start Grant are not eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant nor the PPE Grant. Recipients of the PPE grant are not eligible for the COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant.

The grant applications and complete eligibility details are available online at www.gcedonline.com or www.gcdevcorp.com.

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