Montgomery County announces plan to aid small businesses, families

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announces a proposal to help small businesses and families on Friday, March 20, 2020. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he is planning on making $20 million available in an emergency fund for small businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s important small businesses are able to continue to the extent they can,” Elrich said. “And certainly, it’s critical that they be able to revive the moment we say it’s time to reopen your doors again.”

Elrich, standing outside McGinty’s Pub in downtown Silver Spring, also said he intended to make an additional $5 million available to families.

He offered no details on either plan in terms of who would qualify for the assistance or how it would be rolled out.

“This is a start,” Elrich said. “We will revisit the numbers as we see how the money gets used.”

Greg Whelan, co-owner of McGinty’s Pub in Silver Spring, Maryland, said the assistance from the county would be welcome. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Greg Whelan, co-owner of McGinty’s, said the news was welcome.

“Tipped employees and hourly employees are furloughed right now. I can’t pay them, I don’t know how I’m going to pay them, so having reassurance from our officials is a huge relief moving forward,” he said.

Elrich added that the county is looking at allowing coronavirus testing at clinics that are located on Montgomery County Public School property, and that he’d been talking to the school superintendent about that.

Elrich also said that MedStar had approached the county about establishing a drive-thru site for coronavirus testing, and that he recommended the White Flint Mall property off Route 355 in North Bethesda.

“So, it looks like we’ll get a decent-sized drive-thru facility on the site of the mall,” Elrich said.

WTOP contacted MedStar for details. Marianne Worley, assistant vice president for public relations and communications, emailed a response, saying MedStar Health has been looking at a number of sites in Montgomery County, and “no site has been finalized.”

But, Worley said, the testing would be limited to prescreened patients through the provider’s eVisit platform, and that they hope to have a testing site up by the end of next week.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan reported from Silver Spring, Maryland. 

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