The Talbot CARES Small Business Grant Program is Closed

The Talbot CARES Small Business Grant program was developed to help local businesses and not-for-profit organizations located in Talbot County navigate the challenges of 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 the Second and Fourth Tuesday of Each Month at Noon to Get the Latest COVID-19 Updates for Business.

Call: 415-655-0002

Code: 471 585 551

Mark your calendars for the next call on November 10.


Financial Help For Businesses

COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund – Additional funding will be available beginning Wednesday, October 28 for grants to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The grant, up to $50,000 per applicant, will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.

Funds for the commercial seafood industry – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced applications will be available beginning Nov. 4 for economic relief funds for the commercial seafood industry through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will be available to eligible members of the seafood industry on the Maryland OneStop website. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28, 2021.

Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund (MEAF) – MEAF provides loans of up to $150,000 for small and underserved businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Applicants must demonstrate credit worthiness, ability to repay the obligation, and an inability to qualify for loans from traditional lending sources. Applications must be submitted to the Maryland Department of Commerce.

The Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority is offering loans. 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.

Neighborhood BusinessWorks loan program provides flexible financing to new or expanding small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Sustainable Communities and Priority Funding Areas throughout the state.

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).

The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program for Nonprofits is accepting loan applications to assist nonprofits experiencing cash flow problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Main Street Lending Program is designed to help credit flow to small-and medium-sized nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition prior to the pandemic. The program offers 5-year loans, with floating rates. Eligible nonprofits must employ at least 10 people and have been in operation for at least five years.

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 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

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.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Other Assistance Programs

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.

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. 

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.


Financial Help for Agriculture

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program. The new program is designed to provide payments for contract poultry producers who were not eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funds, as well as bonus payments to farmers who received federal relief from the first round of CFAP funding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced up to an additional $14 billion dollars for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) began September 21st and runs through December 11, 2020. Application forms are available here.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture added additional commodities to the CFAP program including aquaculture, nursery crops and flowers, and specialty crops.

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

For 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.

For questions regarding BEACON 2.0, please e-mail, file an inquiry using the new Inquiry Form or call an agent at 667-207-6520. Please include your full legal name, complete address, phone number, e-mail address, the last four digits of your Social Security number, claimant ID number, and/or a brief description of the issue you are experiencing.


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.

New Procurement Tool Helps You Do Business with the State of Maryland – The State of Maryland’s Procurement Forecast for Fiscal Year 2021 is now available on the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs website. The database is populated with solicitations of $100,000 or greater expected to be advertised or awarded through June 30, 2021. Users can choose from six different options to focus their search. It is a powerful business intelligence tool for small, minority, women, and veteran business owners.

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.

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

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

SCORE’s Small Business Resilience Resource Portal –  SCORE has created a comprehensive resource portal to help you find the specific information, government resources, and financial support you need to position your business for future success.

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.

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.

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.

The Maryland Department of Human Services launched a redesigned COVID-19 webpage in response to ongoing needs of residents during the COVID-19. The new webpage offers information on: Health Resources, Governor’s Ongoing Response, Help for Parents, and more.

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.

Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Child Care Outlines Path Forward – Maryland Together: A plan to continue and expand child care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  View the full Recovery Plan and  FAQs for Parents.

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.

Maryland Moves into Stage Three of Reopening

As part of the state’s initial entry into Stage Three, Governor Hogan announced the following additional safe and gradual reopenings:

  • Indoor Theaters: Indoor theaters where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
  • Outdoor Venues: Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
  • Retail and Religious Facilities: Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.
  • College and Professional Football Teams: As of October 16 Maryland’s  college and professional football teams will be allowed to welcome spectators up to 10% of their typical capacity. Tailgating at venues is prohibited.

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 theatres and performance venues. 

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


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