Maryland committing $250M in funding to keep economy afloat amid pandemic

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a new economic initiative on Thursday to help put local economies into second gear as the state tries to emerge from the doldrums prompted by the novel coronavirus.

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Although he says the federal government must step up to provide additional money, Hogan announced that Maryland would commit $250 million to keep the economy above water.

More than $50 million of that money will go directly to restaurants. That money’s eligible uses include generating working capital, sanitization services, PPE, payroll and rent.

“Right now, all takeout is shifting towards DoorDash and Uber Eats and GrubHub and they will take between 23 and 33 percent so GrubHub is, right now, at 33 percent fees so revenue-wise it definitely hurts,” said Wesley Yao, owner of Kusshi at Pike & Rose in Rockville and PokeDojo and Hanaro Sushi in Bethesda.

Businesses like restaurants have only recently reopened at limited capacity – and many fear that with the coming winter, outdoor dining will not be an option.

“As far as the patio goes, heaters as many heaters as we can possibly find,” explained Andreas Georgiou director of operations of The Block at Pike & Rose in Rockville. “I know they’re in high demand and the entire restaurant industry is probably looking for every heater possible but that’s all we can do really.”

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The state is dedicating another $50 million to small businesses, and $20 million will go to “relief for main streets” – which includes businesses and local entertainment venues.

In addition, $20 million will go toward helping businesses retain their workers.

Other smaller chunks of the packages will go to a number of other outlets – including minority owned businesses, tourism and the arts.

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Finally, $100 million will go into a “rapid response” fund that can be dedicated to communities in need.

State budget officials have suggested that the pandemic could cost Maryland billions – and the impact could stretch on over two years or more.

You can read a complete breakdown of the funding on the governor's web page.