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



Stage Three of Reopening: Resources for Businesses

As part of the state’s initial entry into Stage Three, Governor Hogan announced the following additional safe and gradual reopenings that will take effect Friday, September 4 at 5 p.m.:

Read the Governor's lastest executure order here.

  • INDOOR THEATERS. Indoor theaters where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place. Read reopening guidance for theaters here.
  • OUTDOOR VENUES. Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
  • RETAIL AND RELIGIOUS FACILITIES. Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.

Under the latest executive order, effecting July 31 at 5 pm the use of face coverings are required for all people in Maryland over the age of five when on public transportation; indoors at any public location; outdoors when unable to maintain six feet apart; obtaining healthcare services; and engaged in any work area where human interaction is likely or food is prepared or packaged. The expanded order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions. Read the FAQs regarding face coverings

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan passed a declaration requiring face coverings on the Boardwalk between the hours of 8 am to 2 am for anyone over the age of five. For more information, please visit Ocean City's COVID-19 FAQs page.

Indoor/Outdoor Dining: Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association.

Best Practices - Follow these best practices for general businesses and your specific industry.

General Best Practices

Entertainment and Recreational Attractions

Gyms, Martial Arts, Dance Studios


Construction and Development



Personal Services

Professional Services

Restaurants and Bars / Executive Order / Signage Template / Food Safety FAQs

Guidance for the Restaurant Industry – American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has developed guidelines for restaurants as they prepare to reopen. Get additional resources at AIHA’s  Coronavirus Outbreak Resource CenterCoronavirus Outbreak Resource Center.


Recreation, Youth Programs, and Sporting Events Directives - For additional questions, please refer to this FAQ on outdoor youth camps, sports programs, and other youth programs

Youth Sports Best Practices

Latest Amended Directive and Order Regarding Youth Camp Programs from the Maryland Department of Health

Latest Amended Directive and Order Regarding Community, Recreational, Leisure, Cultural, and Sporting Gathering and Events from the Maryland Department of Health

Latest directive and order regarding swimming pools from the Maryland Department of Health

Guidance and best practices for Religious Services.

Resources from the Maryland Department of Health – Signage for Buildings

Workplace Poster! (OSHA3994 - 10 steps) Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus – Attached is a helpful poster from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

New Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionReopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also produced useful signs in multiple languages to help you establish and enforce standards for protection.  All materials are free for download.



Financial Assistance for Businesses


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. Small Business Administration released the Payroll Protection Program Loan forgiveness form and instructions.


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: