On behalf of the Governor, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has released a statement clarifying essential business operations for the horse industry. We remind you that Governor Hogan requested at his press conference yesterday that “unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, you need to stay home.”

This statement deems care of horses the sole essential activity of a horse farm and allows self-care boarders to continue to provide care during this time.

The full statement is pasted below:

Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close by 5 p.m. March 23, 2020. While farms and the agriculture and food supply chains are considered essential, commercial and recreational riding centers and stables should prepare to suspend their operations to the public. Horse care, boarding facilities and other operations that provide self-care boarding for privately-owned horses are considered essential and should continue operations while implementing safety measures that promote social distancing and other best practices.

If you think your business should be considered essential, please use this link to make a request:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeWGjVhh7ZU_LhVQHV4x7o_QsuI5uRiem1AetM_t3XieV7AZA/viewform

In order to help those businesses that are ordered to close, the Governor also announced new COVID-19 business relief programs and resources available through the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor. As of March 23, the entire state of Maryland has received designation for federal Small Business Administration assistance, as well.

Maryland has authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. These programs provide interim relief funds that can be used to pay cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs.

For more information about all of these programs, click here: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-fund-programs

Below are more details and links for each Maryland relief program.

SBA Disaster Assistance Application: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – This is a $75 million loan fund for for-profit businesses only that offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months. After the first 12 months, the loan converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Click here for more information: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-loan-fund

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – This is a $50 million grant fund that offers working capital to assist Maryland small businesses and non-profits with disrupted operations due to COVID-19. The grant is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with its bank, business interruption insurance and financial partners. For more information, click here: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-grant-fund

Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This is a $5 million incentive program helping Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for hospitals and health-care workers across the country. Details can be found here: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-covid-19-emergency-relief-manufacturing-fund

COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund – This program is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19 by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. Up to $50,000 per applicant can be used in a customizable way for the specific needs of each business to minimize layoffs. Grant applications will be awarded from March 23 through 30-days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability). For more information, click here: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml

Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program – Work Sharing is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a temporary, non-cyclical decline in business due to lower economic activity. The program is designed to avoid layoffs by preserving jobs for trained workers. Click here for more information: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/worksharing/

If you have questions about any of these programs and/or would like to apply for relief assistance, click on the program’s link for requirements, instructions and applications.