Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is encouraging small businesses to reopen and expand with a multi-million dollar initiative, there are rules

Kaleah Mcilwain

Last year was a hard year for everyone, especially business owners. All across the U.S. businesses closed their doors at the start of the pandemic, some of them permanently.

With 66.2% of the population now vaccinated, many businesses are reopening their doors and new businesses are opening up.

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And to help them open and recover from the pandemic, Governor Larry Hogan has announced the launch of Project Restore, a $25 million economic recovery initiative. It will provide financial incentives for small businesses and commercial developers to revitalize vacant retail and commercial spaces in downtown areas and on main streets.

Businesses in Baltimore City that qualify can apply to receive sales tax relief rebates equal to the business’ sales tax receipts for two years of operation. This will apply to all businesses in tier one while businesses in tier two will only receive one year.

To qualify to apply a business will have to be new or have expanded its operations, but have not been generating sales tax receipts for the past six months or more.

If a business has 50 or fewer employees it will also be eligible to receive rental subsidies of up to $2,500 a month to offset startup costs in their first year of operation.

Tier one areas include: Baltimore City, Allegany, Baltimore, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. It also includes Opportunity Zones located in any Maryland county. Tier two areas are all other areas.

“Project Restore will help put more ‘open for business’ signs in storefront windows, create thousands of jobs, and transform neighborhoods and communities,” said Governor Hogan.

In 2020 over 1,000 businesses in Maryland permanently closed and over 900 temporarily shut down.

“Our department has been proud to support the economic recovery of Maryland with over $1.78 billion of pandemic related funding allocated to help businesses, nonprofits, entertainment and tourist venues, renters, homeowners, and other Marylanders in need,” said Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt.

Governor Hogan is encouraging business owners to apply so businesses can open again and show that the city is recovering from the pandemic.

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Journalist with a background reporting on local communities, now living in and reporting on the Baltimore area. Find me on twitter!

Baltimore, MD
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