Montgomery Co. council approves $5M aid for retail shops, restaurants

The Montgomery County, Maryland, council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve $5 million in emergency aid to retail shops and restaurants that have been hit financially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid is in addition to the $5 million in aid for small businesses that the county approved March 31 as part of a broader $20 million emergency spending bill.

Under the latest measure, businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for $75,000 per business.

“Of course this is not enough … here at the local level, we are doing everything we can within our range of resources. Obviously we wish we had a lot more money,” said Council member Nancy Navarro in an online meeting, where the measure passed unanimously.

Large retail chains are excluded under the bill, which requires the eligible business to have at least 50% of its employees or 50% of its gross sales inside the county.

Restaurant owners and shopkeepers can apply online for the financial aid from the Montgomery County Public Health Emergency Grant Program.

Council members additionally approved $250,000 in emergency spending on face coverings and other personal protective equipment, or PPE.

The council also voted to appropriate $100,000 for the County’s Economic Development Corporation to manufacture PPE.


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