The Talbot CARES Small Business Grant Program is Not Accepting New Applications at This Time

Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism has received more than 100 applications for the Talbot CARES Small Business GrantThe program is designed to help local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is open to businesses and not-for-profit organizations located in Talbot County with 50 or fewer employees. Applicants must demonstrate a loss of business revenue of at least 25% related to COVID-19.


The COVID-19 public health crisis is also an economic crisis for Talbot County’s business owners and workers in every industry. We update this information daily to bring you the latest information and best resources to help you manage your business during this pandemic. At the Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism, we are here to support you, not just in times of crisis, but every day.


Join Us for a Private-Sector Conference Call Tuesdays at Noon to Get the Latest COVID-19 Updates for Business.

Call: 415-655-0002

Code: 471 585 551


Eastern Shore Business Summit turns virtual this year.
Sign up for any or all of the free, one hour, online programs. Presented by Maryland Department of Rehabilitation Services Business Services Team, Department of Labor, Infinite & Well Co., BEACON, Leadership Techniques, LLC, and Kronos.

  • Thursday, August 13, 2020: Emotional Intelligence, 2:00 p.m.

Small Business Development Center webinars.

  • Tuesday, August 11. 2020, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. Johnny Gilman and Steven Brown present Updates to Returning to Work in the Coronavirus Age. An interactive webinar to get your Human Resource questions answered. Register here.
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. Jennifer Bryant presents  Resume Writing 101. Designed to help attendees recognize what they should include in a resume, how to market their skills, and the knowledge to better stand out in today’s job market. Register here.
  • Wednesday, August 18, 2020, 10 a.m.-11 a.m., Annette Johnson will be hosting Self-Awareness: A Leadership Development Strategy. Participants will learn seven self-awareness tips to use as a tool for ongoing leadership development. Register here.
  • Thursday, August 20, 2020, from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. Jennifer Bryant will host Interview Strategies and Techniques. To be discussed are the various types of interviews, tips on how to be fully prepared, and the best ways to make a lasting impression. Register here.
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. tune in as Lisa Baldino hosts Business Writing That Works, an interactive workshop designed to improve writing skills. Learn how you can impact the bottom line with simple techniques that focus your attention on good writing habits. Register here.

For questions or help registering please contact Training Coordinator Catherine Raley at


Reopening: Resources for Businesses

The Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism has assembled a collection of resources for businesses, manufacturing, and places of worship to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maryland Department of Health released new orders for food service establishments, community recreation; professional, adult and youth sporting events; cultural events and festivals; concerts and parades; pool operations; and hospitals. Click the links below for the latest information.

Guidance and best practices for a variety of industries to help businesses reopen safely.

Best practices for entertainment and recreational attractions. More details about permitted Maryland recreational activities.

Best practices for fitness centers, martial arts and dance studios.

Best practices for restaurants. Guidance from the Maryland Department of Health for food service establishments.

Guidance for the Restaurant Industry – American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has developed guidelines for restaurants as they prepare to reopen. Get additional resources at AIHA’s Coronavirus Outbreak Resource Center.

Best practices for accommodations.

Best practices for construction and development.

Best practices for youth sports.

Best practices for youth day camps.

Best practices for outdoor pools.

Best practices for marinas.

Best practices for golf.

Best practices for personal services.

Best practices for retail stores.

Best practices for manufacturing.

Best practices for religious services.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answers frequent questions from businesses, like “What do I do if an employee contracts COVID-19?”

Updated Talbot County Emergency Declaration regarding COVID-19 extending licenses and allowing short term rentals and bed and breakfasts to reopen, among other changes. Short term rentals and bed and breakfasts must provide these recommended guidelines to guests.

Talbot County Poster – Nine Things Businesses Should be Doing Now to Prepare for Reopening!

Signage for bars and restaurants from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Resources from the Maryland Department of Health – Signage for Buildings

Workplace Poster! (OSHA3994 -10 steps) Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus – Attached is a helpful poster from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

New Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What you should know about COVID-19 and Equal Opportunity Employment Laws, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEO laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.


Financial Help For Businesses

A new loan is available to Maryland businesses through the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority. Non-profits, financial and insurance institutions, gambling operations, massage parlors, cannabis-related businesses, as well as real estate companies may apply. Loans from $25,000 to $200,000 are available. First come, first served until funds run out. More details here.

Maryland Nonprofit Recovery Initiative (NORI) and the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) grant for the arts and artists.

State Apprenticeship Expansion Grant – Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program (MATP) MD Labor is now accepting proposals for these grant funds to support Registered Apprenticeship Programs across the State. MD Labor is allocating $699,226.39 of its State Apprenticeship Expansion Grant to the Related Instruction Reimbursement Program.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Paycheck Protection Program. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is August 8.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.

  • The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
  • These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • Loans repayment terms of up to 30 years and the first payment is deferred for one year.
  • In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000 ($1000 per employee). This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Announces Payment Deferral – New Repayment Option for Homeowners in COVID-19 Forbearance Plans – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are making available a new payment deferral option. The option allows borrowers, who are able to return to making their normal monthly mortgage payment, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service Allows Employers to Claim Tax Credit for Paying Furloughed Employees’ Health Premiums– Employers that qualify for the CARES Act’s employee retention credit may treat health plan expenses paid to furloughed employees as qualified wages for purposes of the retention credit. Qualified employers that do not pay wages to laid off or furloughed employees, but may treat the associated health plan expenses as qualified wages.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service provided guidance in Notice 2020-54 to employers requiring them to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on Form W-2. Additional information about tax relief for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on

COVID-19 Health Insurance Resources – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have published the following updated COVID-19 health insurance resources for businesses:

The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing the Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF).

If you didn’t get funding from Paycheck Protection Program Loan, take a look at this tax credit from the Internal Revenue Service.

Small Business Administration Daily Calls & Webinars

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting daily webinars and conference calls to help small-business owners understand and apply for the corona virus relief options. The SBA offers these programs: EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loan, and SBA Debt Relief.

  • 3:00 p.m. – Daily Conference Call 202-765-1264; ID # 827-299-626
  • 5:30 p.m. – Daily Conference Call 202-765-1264; ID # 310-688-488
  • 10:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. – Zoom Webinar (download the Zoom app for free) Meeting # 6794772946. Have all your necessary documents ready.  

Check out this site from the Small Business Development Center about federal resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

 The Relief Wizard – Research which assistance programs are right for your business and be prepared for the next round of funding! The Relief Wizard is an easy to use tool to navigate these programs.  

Check on the status of your EIDL application by calling 1-800-659-2955 or emailing

Employee Retention Credit – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer.

Other Assistance Programs

National Main Street Center “HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program” – This initiative is designed to support brick-and-mortar businesses as they enter the next phases of reopening across the country, while also helping to revitalize and strengthen older and historic Main Street and commercial districts. The program will fund solutions that help small businesses respond and adapt to the pandemic. Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for grants of between $5,000 and $15,000. The National Main Street Center will only accept 500 total applications.

Maryland Restaurant Relief Fund – OLD BAY, McCormick for Chefs, and CORECares have joined forces to offer support to local Maryland restaurants impacted by COVID-19 providing up to $2,500 in new grants.

F³ Tech Accelerator Program provides funding for early-stage companies to prepare them for potential investment from the F³ Tech Seed Fund. The program focuses on commercializing and accelerating revenue development for companies that are advancing innovations and new technologies within the agriculture, aquaculture, energy, supply chain, and environmental technology sectors. The program will end with a Demo Day event at which the best company will be awarded $25,000.

National Association for the Self-Employed Growth GrantsThis program allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular small business need. Worth up to $4,000 each, past recipients used their growth grants to purchase computers, hire part-time help, and create marketing materials.

Business Owners’ Idea Café Small Business Grant –  Business owners who have been in business for at least six months can apply for a $1,000 grant with advertising opportunities. There are no entry fees and a complete business plan is not required. 

APG Chesapeake Grant Fund – A $500,000 matching advertising grant fund has been established to assist locally owned businesses market themselves during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

MD Labor Workshare ProgramThis program is designed to avoid layoffs by preserving jobs for trained workers. Using Work Sharing, an employer can maintain high productivity and quality because the existing trained workforce remains in place. Qualified employers, who participate in Work Sharing, are able to retain an entire employee group by reducing that group’s hours of work by a percentage equal to the total reduction of hours that would have been achieved by a layoff.

Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Offers Grants Nonprofit heritage tourism organizations located within the boundaries of a Certified Heritage Area that are experiencing disruption of operations due directly to the economic implications and ramifications of the State of Emergency declared on March 5, 2020, may apply for a $5,000 grant. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with deadlines falling on the first of each month until funds are used up.

6 Free Government Grants to Start a Business – There are many free government grant programs designed to bolster the American small business community. To help you get started in your search, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is providing information on six free federal grant and contracting programs available to startups.

How to Get a Grant to Start a Business – Funding your startup can be a challenge. Applying for grant money takes time but may give you that boost you need to launch your business. Sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A Guide to Financing Your Business After Coronavirus – U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This guide breaks down the financing options available to business owners who are still waiting for a PPP or SBA loan.

The Maryland Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program provides prime contracting opportunities for small businesses that are ready, willing and able to perform on state-funded contracts. In the last fiscal year, Maryland paid over $477 million to certified SBR firms. The program applies to 66 designated agencies and departments that are required to spend at least 15 percent of their total fiscal year procurement expenditures with certified SBR vendors. Vendors who meet the eligibility standards and complete an online process can become certified in one day. There is no cost to participate in the SBR Program.


Financial Help for Agriculture

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency is accepting CFAP applications through Aug. 28, 2020.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Extends Maturity for Marketing Assistance Loans – Effective immediately, producers of eligible commodities now have up to 12 months to repay their commodity loans. The maturity extension applies to nonrecourse loans for crop years 2018, 2019, and 2020. Eligible open loans must be in good standing with a maturity date of March 31, 2020 or later or new crop year (2019 or 2020) loans requested by September 30, 2020. All new loans requested by September 30, 2020 will have a maturity date 12 months following the date of approval. The maturity extension for current, active loans will be automatically extended an additional three months. Loans that matured March 31 have already been automatically extended. Loans requested after September 30, 2020 will have a term of nine months.


Unemployment Information

As of May 19, 2020, all regular unemployment insurance claimants are able to file weekly claim certifications for all prior weeks they have missed in just one session, using the BEACON One-Stop account portal. These claimants, who were previously limited to filing one prior week at a time, should check their BEACON portal to see if there are new claim certification weeks available to file. If there are multiple weeks available, claimants can file them all to ensure that their claim filings are up to date. Learn more here: Weekly Claim Certification frequently asked questions.

For other Unemployment Insurance FAQ topics, click here

The Maryland Department of Labor has released a new Unemployment Insurance Claim Pamphlet explaining the relaxed requirements that unemployment insurance claimants must meet to be eligible for benefits during the pandemic state of emergency.

Do you have questions about unemployment claims? A new Unemployment Guide from the Maryland Department of Labor answers frequently asked claim certification questions. The questions and answers are updated weekly.

The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance recently launched the new BEACON One-Stop site for unemployment. There are four new tutorial videos to help Marylanders navigate the new site.


Need More Information?  Check Out These Resources – The Talbot County Department of Emergency Services and the Talbot County Health Department are leading the county’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Get comprehensive daily updates at this website.

Maryland COVID-19 Information for Business – A roundup of Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Small Business Guide and Checklist for Coronavirus Emergency Loans. This document from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contains a wealth of information for large and small businesses and sole-proprietors who are considering applying for aid.

COVID-19 Guidance for Commercial Watermen & Seafood Industry – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has offered some guidance to watermen, including those who are self-employed, about how to apply for financial assistance.

Small Business Development Center Survival Guide – A comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to navigate your business through the crisis. It includes tips on how to talk to creditors, alternative funding sources, and how to leverage social media platforms to communicate to customers.

COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide– U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, unveiled a one-stop-shop for federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s COVID-19 website contains valuable information for businesses, lenders, borrowers, and employees.

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

The Hogan Administration’s COVID-19 Response – Live updates and the latest news from Governor Larry Hogan.

Grow  you business through the Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD). List your business, promote your events, and get included in special promotions that fit your business.  Click here for more information.


You Are Not Alone

Feeling stressed? Anxious? Depressed by the COVID-19 public health crisis? Don’t suffer in silence. Help is available for you and your loved ones.

For All Seasons24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Toll-Free: 800-310-7273 English:410-820-5600 Spanish: 410-829-6143

For All Seasons continues to have availability for crisis appointments, in-person appointments, teletherapy, and telepsychiatry, as well as 24/7 hotlines during the COVID-19 crisis. You can even text to get help. Staff is available for both long-term and short-term appointments for anyone in need of support.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Toll-Free (English) 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Toll-Free (español) 1-888-628-9454. More information for businesses here