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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Baltimore County News

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Keyword: business

$20,000 Grants will Fund COVID-Related Programming and Marketing Efforts

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a $600,000 grant program designed to assist chambers of commerce and business associations in their missions to support businesses in their communities.

The grant program will fund initiatives that support local businesses by providing educational programming and marketing efforts to help sustain the viability of this important economic sector that has been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

“Our independent small businesses and our neighborhood business corridors are an important element of our local economy and they add to our overall sense of community,” said County Executive Olszewski. “These grant funds will quickly go where they are needed to provide critically-needed support to help our small businesses districts.”

The COVID-19 Business Corridor Sustainability Grant Program is narrowly focused on providing financial support to Baltimore County’s small business associations and chambers of commerce so that they can provide professional-level services to support member and nonmember businesses in their communities.

A total of $600,000 will be awarded to eligible applicants, capped at $20,000 per organization. Applicants will be required to submit a proposal that demonstrates how the organization plans to utilize these funds to support small businesses in Baltimore County by providing COVID-19 related services.

These grant funds will enable the County’s chambers and small business associations to pay staff or outside experts to conduct virtual educational programming on COVID-19 related recovery efforts such as accounting requirements for government assistance programs or negotiating forbearance agreements with landlords and financial institutions. Funds could also be used for marketing campaigns to help promote community patronage and support for local “Main Street” businesses.

Apply Now

Applications are open now and available.

Applicants must be a not-for-profit business association or chamber of commerce that:

  • Serves businesses located in Baltimore County
  • Has been in operation as of January 1, 2020
  • Has at least one paid staff member, and provides an employee roster listing all employees as of January 31, 2020
  • Is registered and in good standing with the State of Maryland, if required to do so by law
  • Is not currently in default on any loans, or out of compliance with any grants from Baltimore County, or delinquent on any taxes owed to Baltimore County
  • Submits a complete and acceptable application and proposal by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 31

Baltimore County staff will review the application to ensure proper completion, and an inter-agency committee will be responsible for reviewing each application submitted to determine eligibility.

Following Progress in Major Indicators, Baltimore County Continues Efforts to Reopen Businesses

Following progress in major indicators including expanded testing and increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for nursing homes, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced new actions to reopen key portions of Baltimore County’s economy while maintaining public health measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

“With significant progress in expanding testing and PPE, I’m confident that Baltimore County is ready to take these next steps, and do so in a safe manner that protects the health of our residents,” Olszewski said. “While these steps are important, we’re not out of the woods yet, and I urge all residents to continue practicing social distancing to limit the spread of this virus.”

New Actions Effective Friday, May 22

County Executive Olszewski will issue an executive order stating that effective Friday, May 22, at 9 a.m., Baltimore County will take the following actions:

  • Retail stores may reopen for in-store retail with a maximum capacity of 10, including staff. This applies to all retail establishments outside of those considered essential under the state’s previous orders. Curbside pickup and delivery is strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions should remain in place. Shopping malls must continue to stay closed except for retail establishments that can be accessed from the outside.

  • Barber shops and hair salons may reopen with a maximum capacity of 10, including staff. They may operate by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines. Other personal services establishments must remain closed until further notice.

Clarification on Religious Institution Restrictions

County Executive Olszewski also clarified that the restrictions that were in place on all religious institutions in the state prior to last week remain in place in Baltimore County. That means that the restriction on gatherings of more than 10 remain in place, either indoors or outdoors. Religious institutions may hold drive-through or drive-in services, as some have done.

Residents Encouraged to Continue to Stay at Home

Baltimore County’s prohibition on indoor and outdoor gatherings or events of 10 or more people at all locations and venues remains in place.

Residents and visitors to Baltimore County should strive to stay at home unless they are traveling to work or medical appointments, shopping for groceries or other retail goods, or traveling to outdoor recreational opportunities. Older and more vulnerable residents are strongly advised to continue staying home as much as possible.

Residents and visitors should practice safe physical distancing and wear masks in public, and frequently wash their hands and sanitize high-touch areas.

Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so.

Daniel Braswell was looking for something new after working as a respiratory care professional for 20 years. A visit to the Baltimore County Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) sent him on a path he had never considered. 

A business counselor recommended a free Starting Your Small Business workshop. It got Braswell thinking, for the first time, about self-employment. Braswell said the workshop inspired him and broadened his horizons. “The workshop was full of ideas for potential opportunities.”

Over the next year, Braswell performed market and industry research and attended training sessions for small businesses and start-ups. After learning more, he identified the business opportunity he felt was right for him: environmental testing for water and lead. 

He developed a business plan and launched Braswell Testing, LLC in June 2017. Braswell is currently working with a business counselor at the Baltimore County Small Resource Center to obtain minority business certifications that will expand his company’s opportunities in government contracting.

Whether you are looking into starting your own business or growing your existing small business, Baltimore County has programs to help, from writing a business plan to financing an expansion to hiring workers. 

Help starting your own business

If you’ve thought about running your own business but are not sure where to start, the Baltimore County Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) can help. The SBRC offers free assistance including:

  • Starting a Business Plan
  • Obtaining a Business License
  • Workshops and Counseling
  • Finding Workspace
  • Securing Financing

The Starting Your Small Business Workshop is offered once a month at all Baltimore County American Job Center locations. Visit the Job Center nearest you or contact the Baltimore County Small Business Resource Center at 410-825-6200 or to access other resources.

How about my existing small business?

Small companies looking to grow locally, nationally and internationally can find assistance from Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development. We can help you find a new business location, hire and provide workforce solutions and research funding options to support your expansion. We offer a menu of services that can help you grow your business:

  • Location and Site Selection Assistance
  • Loans and Financing
  • Workforce Training and Hiring
  • Certifications for Government Contracting
  • Tax Incentives
  • International Business Outreach
  • Networking with Business Development Groups

Start up or scale up, Baltimore County can help your business grow.

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development works to strengthen Baltimore County as a thriving location for businesses and a place where well-educated and trained residents enjoy economic opportunity.

Revised September 11, 2017