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Montgomery County Business Relief Program Unveiled

Male business owner crouched over a computer at his restaurant doing work. An information page for the  Montgomery County Public Health Emergency Grant Program (PHEG) went live this week. Local businesses, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, may be eligible for grants of up to $75,000 from a $20 million fund. $5 million is reserved for restaurants and retail establishments. The catch is that local businesses must show evidence that they have already applied for any applicable State and Federal programs before qualifying for County assistance. We covered some of those programs in a previous article on Financial Assistance to Small Business. Additional programs can be found on the county website. 

Eligibility Criteria Have Been Published

Eligibility criteria is based on the business’s location, size and coronavirus-related financial losses. 

Location requirement: the business meets one of the following criteria

  • Is physically located only in the County
  • Has locations outside of the County, and the County-based location(s) account for more than 50 percent of the business’s total number of (full-time-equivalent) employees
  • Has locations outside of the County, and the County-based location(s) account for more than 50 percent of the business’s gross sales.

Size Requirement: the business meets one of the following criteria

  • Employs 100 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees
  • Sole proprietors
  • Businesses with no employees)

Showing Financial Impact and Intended Use of Funds

Applicants will write a brief explanation of how the public health emergency has affected your business operations, including changes in both revenues and expenses, to show “significant” financial losses. Financial losses can be caused directly or indirectly by the Covid-19 public health emergency. The county will accept a variety of common financial documents to demonstrate need.

Businesses will also need to describe intended use of the County funds. Permitted uses are not listed on the website. The Act passed by the County Council limits uses to:

  • employee wages and benefits
  • taxes
  • debt
  • rent
  • other operating losses
  • telework equipment
  • software expenses for employees to telework.

Businesses cannot “double dip” for expenses that have been reimbursed by other public programs, insurance or unemployment benefits. 

To qualify for a telework technology “microgrant” of up to $2,500 either a copy of an invoice or a quote for relevant equipment and software must be provided at the time of application. 

Are There Strings Attached To The Grants? 

The names of businesses that receive grants, and the dollar amount of the grant received will be public information. Financial information will be kept confidential. 

In addition, the businesses accepting grants will agree to the County’s right to audit financial records of the grantee, reporting requirements, and an obligation to return to the County any unused or improperly used funds. 

Get Ready for the Application

We encourage small businesses to review the information page and prepare to submit an online application promptly. Unfortunately, there is no concrete information available yet on when the application will be available. To be notified when the application for the PHEG program is available, email and include PHEG in the subject line.

Contact the attorneys at McMillan Metro Faerber at (301) 251-1180 for more information.