Montgomery County announces $25 Million in emergency assistance

Montgomery County is offering help for businesses struggling amid the coronavirus outbreak, announcing $25 million in emergency assistance.

In a press conference Friday in Silver Spring, Montgomery County County Executive Marc Elrich said, “We need to get our county, our state and our country back on its feet.”

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The emergency funding is still in the planning stages, but county officials said they intend to have money available in a matter of weeks.

The fund would provide $20 million for small businesses with 100 employees or less, as well as an additional $5 million to support families.

County officials said that they plan to provide as much as possible in the form of grants that would not need to be repaid. 

Elrich said the government needs to think about the long term.

“These business owners employ hundreds, thousands, they’re our largest employers in the county. And if their employees do not have jobs to come back to, the recession is going to far outlast what we do for COVID," said Elrich.

Through the ordeal, businesses are finding ways to weather the storm.

In Gaithersburg, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer shifted its sales from in-store to curbside, setting up their new online ordering capability in just 24 hours.

Owner Arash Tafakor told FOX 5, the new business model has allowed him to retain his entire staff, transitioning employees who used to work their bar into new roles filling orders.

His advice to struggling small businesses?

“Just adjust as fast as you can. Keep in mind that this isn’t a time to make money, its a time to keep your employees employed.”

In addition to the emergency fund, Montgomery County promises that more help is on the way.

Small business loans are already available, county officials are asking the governor to suspend commercial rents and mortgage payments, and they say, anything else that they can lower or waive temporarily.