Throughout the pandemic, Garrett County Government, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Commerce, has created several small business assistance grants. These grant programs are administered locally by Garrett County Department of Economic Development.
Two Garrett County grant programs provided grant funding to lodging businesses (including hotels, and bed and breakfasts) and restaurant businesses (including caterers) for expenses associated with adjusting operations and procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our small business community is the backbone of the Garrett County economy,” said Kim Durst, Garrett County Manager of Business Development. “These grant funds were instrumental in helping 90 local businesses.”
The hotel relief grant program from the Maryland Department of Commerce provided nearly one million dollars to 16 local businesses. An average of $1,766 per room was allocated for COVID-19 relief. This funding did not require a match and will not need to be paid back.
For two rounds of restaurant relief grants, including funding from the Maryland Department of Commerce and funds added by the Garrett County Government, 74 local businesses were awarded assistance. 60 foodservice businesses received a grant of $10,000 each and 14 businesses received grants of $5,000 each. These one-time awards do not require payback.
Garrett County and the Garrett County Health Department also received a total of $5 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding. The U.S. Treasury set the guidelines for the expenditure of funds, giving the County discretion as to how the money would be spent to aid residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The County, in consultation with the Health Department and municipal leaders, developed a plan designed to set parameters on local funding for small businesses, investments in technology, reemployment of the County's workforce, and re-configuring of business processes.
This award, along with $319,894 in additional State funding, presented the County with an opportunity to cover not only County costs incurred due to this pandemic, but to also assist our municipalities, community partners, and local small businesses who experienced unexpected costs due to the COVID-19.
The Board of Garrett County Commissioners approved CARES funding allocations in the following categories:
Technology Infrastructure / Distance Learning / Telework
Public Safety / Emergency Services
Community Action / Community Social Services
Small Business Assistance
Restaurant Assistance (mentioned above – 74 businesses)
Fire Rescue / Emergency Medical Service
All local health and government agencies are in daily contact with the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This EOC has been activated since March 22, 2020, offering updates, strategies, and coordination for the public safety and health agencies across Garrett County.
“During these unprecedented times, Garrett County has, once again, pulled together,” said Board of Garrett County Commissioners Chair Paul Edwards. “We have been able to add important infrastructure and offer needed assistance in light of this pandemic.
Garrett COVID-19 information continues to be available on the Garrett County Health Department website garretthealth.org. Anyone with medical questions about the virus may call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.