COVID-19 Relief Options and Resources

To assist Worcester County businesses, WCED has created this resource page that includes information and links to financial assistance and clarification about what qualifies as a non-essential business. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available, so check this page often and follow us on Facebook.
If you have any questions, call our office at 410-632-3112

Maryland Back To Business

Updates and best Practices for Maryland's companies reopening in correlation with the COVID-19 outbreak.


Business Closures & Restrictions During COVID-19

  • AS OF 5 P.M. ON May 15, STATE OF MARYLAND IS IN STAGE ONE OF GOVERNOR HOGAN'S MARYLAND STRONG: ROADMAP TO RECOVERY. - A phased approach to reopening some businesses. Read the executive order.
  • AS OF 5 P.M. ON MARCH 23, ALL NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES IN MARYLAND ARE ORDERED TO CLOSE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. - Read Governor Hogan's executive order for more information. For guidance on this order, including a list of businesses, organizations and facilities which may remain open, please read the interpretive guidance herehere and here. If “essential” or “non-essential” status is still unclear, please use this as guidance. This list draws on federal guidance regarding the essential critical workforce, which can be found here.
    • If you have a question whether or not your business is essential, please contact
    • If you have other questions pertaining to essential or non-essential businesses, please email, which is monitored by the Maryland Emergency Management team.
    • We encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking. We also encourage companies to find other methods to continue providing services, whether that is through remote-assistance or off-site delivery services.
  • Closure of all Entertainment Venues and Enclosed Shopping Malls - This includes bowling alleys, amusement parks, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks, and other venues, and is in addition to the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers that was previously announced. Businesses which provide drive-through, carry-out, and food delivery services may continue to do so. Read about specific closures in the executive order
  • Carry-out and Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages - Businesses that serve alcohol are now permitted to provide carry-out and delivery of alcoholic beverages. Read the executive order.
  • Child Care Providers - As of March 27, all child care providers are to be closed, except those serving essential personnel. For more information on eligible programs or centers looking to reopen, click here.
  • Restricted Gatherings of More than 10 People - Social, community, religious, recreation, and sporting events and gatherings of more than 10 people are now strictly prohibited in all locations and venues in Maryland. This follows updated CDC guidelines. Read more about the restrictions in the executive order.
  • Businesses Permitted to Operate
    • If your business is one that is permitted by the executive order to remain open, and you choose to do so, it is critical that you follow social distancing guidelines and effective cleaning and disinfection, and do everything in your power to prevent groups of 10 or more people from congregating in one area. Public utility, such as the need to provide food or essential supplies, must be balanced with the need to preserve public health. Guidance from the CDC for businesses is available here.
    • Please know that we encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking. We also encourage companies to find other methods to continue providing services, whether that is through remote-assistance or off-site delivery services.
    • Currently, there is not a state-issued "Letter of Clearance" or similar document for essential business employees to carry with them. While it is not necessary for drivers in Maryland to have documentation about their purpose of travel, having it may help resolve questions. We strongly recommend that employers draft and print their own letters containing the following items - click here.
  • Restricted Use of Public Transportation - Public transit such as MARC, Amtrak, Metro, or bus services should be used for essential travel only. Essential travel means taking trips to work, hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, schools, to provide care for family members, and other similar destinations. By reducing unnecessary travel, transit becomes safer for those who depend on it, especially essential healthcare workers, and for those who operate it. We encourage all employers to consider telework options where possible. Please visit the Maryland Transit Administration for specifics on essential travel and updated route and scheduling information.


Understand Your Resources

See below for information on the CARES Act, its Paycheck Protection Program, available loans and other pertinent information for you and your business. We hope these documents help to illuminate the resources available to provide some support.
Wondering which programs your business can apply for? There are several relief programs designed to help combat the negative effects from COVID-19. The Relief Wizard is an easy to use tool to navigate these programs.  If you answer the questions, the relief wizard will point you to the programs you are eligible for, based on your answers. 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

For more information on the CARES Act and how it pertains to you, check out the resources below:

Paycheck Protection Program

As part of the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to eligible businesses, a portion of which may be forgiven if employers meet certain requirements.
Banks will start accepting loan applications April 3rd. See the documents linked below for more details.
If you are considering applying for this loan, we strongly recommend that you reach out to your bank, read the information in the documents provided and start gathering the necessary information.

SBA Economic Injury Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide low-interest loans to companies affected by the outbreak, with President Trump asking Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program to $50 billion. The SBA has declared the State Maryland an Economic Disaster Area for all 24 counties and is providing disaster loan assistance. Maryland businesses should use disaster incident number “MD-00041”.

The U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched the Save the Business Grant Fund to provide supplemental grants to small employers.

Save Small Business Grant Fund 


NOTE:On April 24, the fourth federal package was signed into law to provide relief to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. $310 billion is set to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and $10 billion for EIDL grants. 

*Applicants, who have not already done so should complete the next step in the process - to create an account with Maryland OneStop. Take a moment to sign up for a OneStop account. They should make sure to use the same email address that was used in their original application. Their application will be linked up to their account and they will be notified. Once in the OneStop, applicants will be able to see the status of their application in their dashboard and receive updates 


Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund

This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and healthcare workers across the country. More information coming by Friday, March 27, 2020.
The Maryland State Arts Council has created special grant opportunities that provide emergency funding to arts organizations and artists in Maryland. Learn More


Additional links for businesses

Maryland COVID Info for Business:

Maryland Department of Commerce:

Maryland Workforce Exchange:

U.S. Department of Agriculture:


Maryland Department of Agriculture:


American Farm Land Trust Farmer Relief Fund:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

Existing Maryland Financing Programs:

Maryland Unemployment Office:

Federal Guidelines for Critical Infrastructure:

Executive Orders and Interpretive Guidance from The Office of Governor Larry Hogan: