ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County is adding a new program they hope will provide restaurants and food service businesses with a bit of relief during the pandemic.

The county is committing $5 million of its federal CARES Act funding to the grant program, to help those establishments who are dealing with reduced revenue because of COVID-19 related restrictions and less customers from the pandemic.

County Executive Steuart Pittman also announced an expansion of the Humanitarian Relief Fund to include food service workers who are losing wages and tip income.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, our restaurants and their hard-working employees have been left with only a fraction of the revenue that they need to survive,” said County Executive Pittman. “That’s why we worked with Economic Development to create the largest assistance program of the pandemic to date for this industry and its people.”

The Restaurant and Food Service Grant Program is specifically targeting food trucks, catering businesses, bed and breakfast establishments and dine-in, non-drive-through restaurants.

They can use the funds to cover expenses including rent, payroll and utilities, and costs that come with buying personal protective equipment, keeping their spaces sanitary and implementing online customer engagement and transactions.

The grant is not allowed to be used for any expenses that were already being covered by another federal, state or local government COVID-19 related program, insurance policy losses or capital improvements to the business.

“With the cold weather months coming, restaurant owners and food service managers are now planning on how they can continue to attract and safely accommodate customers,” said Ben Birge, President and CEO of Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. “These grants can help them afford some of the costs related to their planning as well as ongoing operational expenses so they can weather these challenging times.”

The grant will be disbursed in the following amounts to qualified and approved businesses:

  • $10,000 for catering businesses, bed and breakfast establishments and dine-in, non-drive through restaurants; and
  • $5,000 for food trucks.

To qualify, the business must be in Anne Arundel County, have been open and operating before March 13, 2020 and be in good standing with the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

The businesses must also submit a copy of an active food service license from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health and a signed W-9 form. Applicants will need to upload a voided company check to facilitate an ACH deposit of the grant amount to the business bank account.

The application period is expected to open in mid November. For additional information, inquiries can be sent to grants@aaedc.org.

To apply for relief from the Humanitarian Relief Fund, visit www.aawdc.org/relief or call 410-424-3240 for more information.

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.

CBS Baltimore Staff

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