BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Jack Young announced Thursday a multi-million dollar aid package to help Baltimore’s small businesses who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Small Business Assistance Initiative establishes a COVID-19 Small Business Task Force, a public-private partnership and a $5.5 million fund to provide financial assistance to small businesses.

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Officials said the initiative will direct funds to its “most vulnerable” businesses that need assistance and help commercial districts prepare for reopening.

“This has been a very challenging time for everyone, and the economic impact has severely affected small businesses and their employees,” Mayor Young said. “Businesses who had to close would need to staff up again and there may be further guidelines on how businesses could reopen in safe manner. The task force and fund was established to help businesses with resources needed to do so.”

The COVID-19 Small Business Task Force will be co-chaired by City Councilman Eric Costello, and Shelonda Stokes, Interim President of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

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CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

The $5.5 million fund will be administered by the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) in the following manner:

  • Manufacturing and Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment ($500,000)
  • Neighborhood Business Reopening Initiative ($1.5 million)
  • Small Business Assistance Fund ($3.5 million)

“Through our outreach, BDC has heard from many small businesses who are struggling,” Colin Tarbert, President and CEO of BDC, said. “When the time comes for neighborhood businesses to open again, we want to proactively do what we can to help. These funds will assist our commercial corridors and businesses in those areas prepare to reopen safely.”

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.