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.


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Talbot County Council issues 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.

Stage One of 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 help prepare.

Stage One Activities Effective Friday, May 29, at 5 pm: Read the governor’s order here.

The CDC just issued new guidelines for offices preparing to reopen. The guidelines cover proactive measures such as temperature checks for employees as they arrive at work, face masks, and plastic dividers between desks that are closer than six feet apart.

Outdoor Dining: Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association.

Guidance and best practices for restaurants.

Guidance and best practices for youth sports.

Department of Health directives regarding youth camp programs.

Guidance and best practices for youth day camps.

Department of Health directives regarding swimming pools.

Guidance and best practices for outdoor pools.

Guidance and Best Practices for Personal Services

Guidance and Best Practices for Retail Stores

Guidance and Best Practices for Manufacturing

Guidance and Best Practices for Religious Services

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.

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

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also produced useful signs in multiple languages to help you establish and enforce standards for protection.  All materials are free for download.


Financial Help For Businesses

Important news from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

Federal Housing Finance Agency Announces Payment Deferral as 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.

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 a 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 have not already applied for the EIDL or PPPL program, time is of the essence. To apply for the PPPL program, talk to your bank. Link to PPPL and EIDL applications

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

Need Assistance?

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: Paycheck Protection Program, 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.  

New Small Business Development Center Webinar: 7 Steps To Marketing Success For Local Small Businesses During These Uncertain Times!  This webinar will show you the must-have elements of success on the web: Building trust with your website, creating great content, learning basic SEO, Social Media engagement, email marketing, and Pay per click advertising. Presenter, Dennis Ottey, Dott Digital Marketing. June 12, 2020, 10 a.m. to noon. Free.

Answers to Your Questions on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has released a new fact sheet to address questions from borrowers and lenders concerning the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program.

 The Relief Wizard – Go ahead and 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

Find a bank for the PPP Program – Check out this website.

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

Maryland Restaurant Relief Fund – Without question, COVID-19 has put incredible stress on the restaurant industry. That’s why 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. 

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. APG Chesapeake will grant $500,000 in matched advertising during the months of April, May, and June.

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.

Ex-basketball star Magic Johnson is offering $100 million in loans to minority-owned businesses left out of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Hello Alice is administering grants up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. Applications for COVID-19 Grants close on July 16, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

The Entrepreneurial Dream Project is a $100,000 non-dilutive grant fund and mentorship program benefiting new businesses that are building during COVID-19. Submissions are open now through June 15th, 2020.

FedEx Grants – FedEx has committed $1 million to provide grants for small businesses in the U.S. Each grant recipient will receive $5,000, plus a $500 credit from FedEx that can be used for printing banners, posters, floor graphics, custom branded boxes, and more.


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.

  • The first tutorial video provides instructions for activating and logging in.
  • The second tutorial video walks Marylanders through applying for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) CARES Act program. Those who are self-employed, independent contractors, sole proprietors, gig economy workers, have insufficient work history, or believe they are eligible for the PUA program, can submit their applications online and receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.
  • The third tutorial video covers applying for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) CARES Act program. Those who have recently exhausted their benefits can apply for an additional 13 weeks of benefits through this new application. New claimants and those who are currently receiving benefits will automatically receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits.
  • The fourth tutorial video explains how to file weekly claim certification.

Grant for Restaurant WorkersGuy Fieri and the National Restaurant Association have launched a relief fund to give $500 checks to restaurant workers affected by Coronavirus. Workers can apply starting Thursday, April 2, and will receive a one-time check within three weeks to use toward housing, medical bills, student loans, groceries, and other expenses.  The grants will be administered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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.


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