ROCKVILLE, MD — After receiving more than 6,700 applications from struggling small businesses and nonprofits, Montgomery County has allocated more than $10.6 million of its $25 million Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) program to address financial hardships caused by COVID-19.
The program was established through a partnership between County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council to provide up to $75,000 in grants to companies with 100 or fewer employees.
On Thursday, county officials said they've either awarded, approved, or were in the process of approving financial assistance to 1,205 applicants. For now, all small businesses and nonprofits that the county approves will receive a base grant of up to $10,000. County officials say they will evaluate larger requests at a later time.
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Of the $25 million in the fund, the county has set aside $10 million for local restaurants and small retail shops.
"Here, at the local level, we're doing everything we can within our range of resources. Obviously we wish we had a lot more money, but we understand that this all has to fit together," Councilmember Nancy Navarro said at a council session last month.
On April 25 — 10 days after the program went live — county officials had to stop accepting applications, due to high demand.
Small businesses and nonprofits that applied had to:
- be physically located only in the county; or
- have locations outside the county, as long as the county-based location(s) account for more than 50 percent of the total number of full-time equivalent employees, or more than 50 percent of gross sales; and
- employ 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; and
- have suffered financial losses caused directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 public health emergency