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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 20, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 20, 2021

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Please visit www.washco-md.net/coronavirus-info for the latest numbers on Washington County’s COVID-19 dashboard.’
 
COVID-19 Joint Information Daily Briefings will be released ONLY on Tuesdays and Fridays.
 
**The dashboard is updated Monday-Friday**
 
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
 
YOUR mental health is important! If you are reading this and are feeling anxious, depressed, or your emotions are overwhelming, please reach out for help. The past year has been anything but normal, and it’s okay to reach out for help. For immediate help, dial 2-1-1 or visit www.washcohope.com for more resources in Washington County.
 
Daily Activities and Going Outside
 
As communities and businesses are opening, you may be looking for ways to resume some daily activities as safely as possible. While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
 
CDC cannot provide the specific risk level for every activity in every community. That’s why it’s important for you to consider your own personal situation and the risk for you, your family, and your community before venturing out.
 
What You Need To Know
 
Continue to take these steps to reduce your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19:
  • Consistently wear a well-fitted mask that completely covers your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol)
  • Get vaccinated when the vaccine is available to you
  • Get tested if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
 
Outdoor and Indoor Activities
 
If you want to spend time with people who don’t live with you, the outdoors is the safer choice! You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks, when you
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you
  • Limit your time around others
Remember
  • Bring a mask with you to put on when you encounter people who may get closer than 6 feet
  • Follow local mask mandates 
 
Safer-Outdoor Activities 
  • Run, walk, or bike at your neighborhood park
  • Hike on local trails
  • Take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Participate in an outdoor yoga class
  • Work in the garden
  • Pick up curbside meals
  • Get food delivered
  • Eat outside at a restaurant where the tables are at least 6 feet apart
  • Have a picnic at a park
  • Play kickball in a friend’s backyard
  • Roast marshmallows by a firepit
  • Have an outdoor barbeque
  • Go to a drive-in
  • Listen to an outdoor concert from your car
  • Create your own outdoor movie party
 
Less Safe-Indoor Activities
  • Exercise at a fitness center
  • Walk around the mall during off-hours
  • Attend a class at a yoga studio
  • Swim at your local pool
  • Eat inside at a restaurant
  • Watch movies
  • Play games
  • Chat with your friends
  • Watch a movie at a theater
  • Watch a musical performance
  • Watch a play
 
Large and Small Gatherings
 
If you plan to attend a large gathering, those held outdoors are safer than indoor gatherings. Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19.
 
  • Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
  • Gathering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice.
  • Attend an outdoor concert where attendees are wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart.
  • Watch an outdoor sporting event where you are seated more than 6 feet away from others.
  • Attend a front yard neighborhood BBQ where each neighbor gathers in his or her yard and brings his or her own food.
  • Check with the organizer or event venue for updated information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines.
 
Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where guests live to consider whether it is safe to hold or attend a gathering. If you choose to have guests at your home, make sure that everyone follows the steps to make gatherings safer.
  • Have conversations with the host ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, utensils, and condiment packets.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
  • Avoid shouting, cheering loudly, or singing. Clap, stomp your feet, or bring (or provide) hand-held noisemakers instead.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best for you.
All Marylanders 16 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites and are eligible to schedule appointments and get vaccinated through all providers. Eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment; it will take several weeks to vaccinate every resident who wants a vaccine.
 
The Hagerstown, Salisbury, and M&T Bank Stadium mass vaccination sites are offering walk-up, no-appointment vaccinations. A limited number of approximately 200 slots will be available each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
COVID-19 vaccination clinics are being held at nearly 500 retail and independent pharmacies statewide. To find the closest pharmacy provider in your area, visit covidvax.maryland.gov.
 
WHERE CAN YOU GET VACCINATED IN WASHINGTON COUNTY?
 
For all vaccination locations in Washington County, Maryland, search the map by your zip code at covidvax.maryland.gov
 
WESTERN MD MASS VACCINATION SITE
 
Pre-Registration Strongly Encouraged
 
Walk-ins Now Accepted
 
 
The Western Maryland Mass Vaccination site is open at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets. Please pre-register to schedule an appointment at covidvax.maryland.gov or by phone at 1-855-MD-GOVAX.
 
There is now a no-appointment walk-up line. Please be aware that the process for no-appointment lines will take longer, and there is no guarantee of receiving a vaccine.
 
MERITUS HEALTH
 
 
Residents age 18 and older – Go to your MyChart patient portal account to schedule your appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine at Robinwood Professional Center. Meritus Health has received a new allocation of vaccines from the state, so appointments are available.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
 
 
The Health Department is now operating a drive-thru vaccination clinic at 13 West Lee Street in Hagerstown, MD.
 
The drive-thru clinic will be held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Appointments are required.
 
To register for an appointment please click on the logo to the left or call the Health Department’s vaccine appointment call center at 240-313-3456 to be contacted when appointments are available.
 
FAMILY HEALTHCARE OF HAGERSTOWN
 
 
Any Maryland resident 18 and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Family Healthcare of Hagerstown’s main location. Visit the covidlink.maryland.gov website for a full list. Otherwise, request a time by clicking on the graphic to the left.
 
It is important to continue to follow all of the recommended guidelines to keep yourself safe. Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose while out in public or when you are around others outside of your household, wash your hands often, social distance, and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.
 
If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have been around others that have tested positive, PLEASE STAY HOME. Monitor your health closely and get tested.
 
Please continue to follow the guidelines put forth by the CDC and Maryland Department of Health:
 
  • WEAR A MASK that covers your nose and mouth
  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • WATCH YOUR DISTANCE
 
***Timelines are subject to change depending on multiple factors, including vaccine availability***
 
COUNTY STATUS: PHASE 3
 
Based on the state’s accelerating vaccination rate and an anticipated increase in supply from the federal government, all Marylanders 16 and older are eligible for vaccination at Maryland’s mass vaccination sites: pre-register for an appointment. All Marylanders 16 and older are also now eligible for vaccination through all providers.
 
Pause on Administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
 
This morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement regarding recent reports of adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine and its recommendation to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
 
Based on the federal government’s recommendation and out of an abundance of caution, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has directed all Maryland COVID-19 vaccine providers to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines until further federal guidance is issued. Both Meritus Health and Washington County Health Department have paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time.
 
Read full release from MDH here.
 
At this time, these adverse events to the J&J vaccine appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government and take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
 
The County will provide further insight when the Maryland Department of Health is provided with more information as it becomes available.
 
If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, or substance use, please dial 2-1-1. For a more in-depth look at resources available in Washington County, please visit www.washcohope.com.
 
 
To partner with the community for this outreach campaign, golden thread bracelets will be given to businesses and community organizations across Washington County who would like to be a Threads of Hope partner. All partners are asked to hand out bracelets to anyone who may need encouragement during this season. If you are a business or organization in Washington County that would like to get involved, please sign-up at www.washcohope.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page to complete the form.
 
The County recognizes that nothing about this year has been normal. As we enter into the winter months, staying connected may become more difficult. It is okay to reach out for help. Citizens are encouraged to check on your friends and family members. Find creative ways to connect virtually or send cards of encouragement in the mail. We will get through this is together.
 
COVID-19 TESTING SITES IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, MD
 
  • Meritus Screening Drive Thru Center is located at 13620 Crayton Blvd. The drive-thru screening center is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Health Department Spring Mobile Testing Sites: The mobile COVID-19 testing site will run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-2pm. Mondays and Wednesdays the testing site will be located at various locations in Hagerstown. Each Friday the testing site will be mobile throughout the county going to different municipalities such as Hancock, Smithburg, Cascade, etc.
  • CVS Drive-Thru Testing Site located at 1503 Potomac Ave, Hagerstown MD 21742. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • CVS Drive-Thru Testing Site located at 10 E Wilson Blvd, Hagerstown MD 21740. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 11236 Robinwood Drive, Suite 101 Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 240-313-4242
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 18721 N Pointe Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 301-733-8313
 
COVID-19 TESTING SITES IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, MD
 
  • Meritus Screening Drive Thru Center is located at 13620 Crayton Blvd. The drive-thru screening center is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Health Department Spring Mobile Testing Sites: The mobile COVID-19 testing site will run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-2pm. Mondays and Wednesdays the testing site will be located at various locations in Hagerstown. Each Friday the testing site will be mobile throughout the county going to different municipalities such as Hancock, Smithburg, Cascade, etc.
  • CVS Drive-Thru Testing Site located at 1503 Potomac Ave, Hagerstown MD 21742. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • CVS Drive-Thru Testing Site located at 10 E Wilson Blvd, Hagerstown MD 21740. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 11236 Robinwood Drive, Suite 101 Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 240-313-4242
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 18721 N Pointe Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 301-733-8313
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
 
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATE
 
Drive-Thru Vaccine Clinic
 
The Washington County Health Department Drive-Thru COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic is now open. The drive-thru clinic is located at 13 West Lee Street and will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-2pm. Appointments are required. To register for an appointment please call our vaccine appointment call center at 240-313-3456 or fill out our interest form at https://forms.gle/M7iUevAdfcs4cpDb9 to be contacted when appointments are available. Currently, those who live or work in Washington County and are 18 or older are eligible to be vaccinated at WCHD’s clinics. The health department is receiving the Moderna vaccine, which is currently approved for those 18 or older.
 
To view the full press release and details regarding the drive-thru clinic click here.
 
WCHD Vaccine Registration Call Center
 
Those who live or work in Washington County, who are also 18 years or older are eligible to get vaccinated at WCHD’s clinic. The health department has stood up a call center to assist the community with registering for upcoming vaccine clinics.
 
COVID-19 TESTING
 
The WCHD COVID-19 Winter testing location on West Lee Street is now closed. The health department is now providing mobile testing sites throughout the county. The week of April 19th we will be providing FREE testing at the following locations from 10am-2pm.
 
April 21: Hagerstown Fire Department, 25 Church Street
April 23: Shafer Park Pavilion #1, Shafer Park Dr., Boonsboro
 
PSA- Fraudulent Calls Claiming to be Contact Tracers:
We have seen an increased number of reports of people receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be from the “health department”. These individuals are then asking Washington County residents for personal and financial information. Please be cautious and aware that contact tracers will NEVER ask for your:
 
  • Social security number
  • Financial or bank account information
  • Money or payment
  • Immigration status
  • Passwords
  • Personal details unrelated to COVID-19
 
You should never give out personal information without being sure of who you are talking to directly. Contact tracers will only ask you questions regarding:
  • To verify your name, date of birth and address
  • About your health and symptoms
  • Locations you have been during a specific period of time
  • Names and contact information for any household and casual contacts (we do not disclose your name to anyone, only that they may have come into contact with an infected individual)
 
For more information about contact tracing please visit https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/contact-tracing   
 
MD COVID Alert
Marylanders can use MD COVID Alert to receive COVID-19 exposure notifications on smartphones The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the launch of MD COVID Alert, the official COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Express system of Maryland. MD COVID Alert uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who might have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 with the goal of reducing infections in Maryland.
Exposure Notifications System: Helping Health Authorities fight COVID-19
 
MERITUS HEALTH
 
A special pop-up clinic for Hancock residents for first doses only of the COVID-19 vaccine will be held Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22. Residents ages 18 and older may walk in between 9 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. either day to the Hancock Town Hall auditorium, 126 West High St. Residents should please bring a photo ID with them to the clinic.
 
COMMUNITY VACCINE TOWN HALL
If you missed the live version of Meritus Health’s virtual town hall for the community on COVID-19 vaccines, watch the recording here:
 
Many important concerns and questions on COVID-19 vaccines were addressed and answered during the town hall.
 
COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENTS
MyChart appointments are now available to residents 18 years and older.
 
REPORTING COVID-19 VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS
Anyone who has had side effects from one of the COVID-19 vaccines should report those to the CDC through its dedicated resource: https://vsafe.cdc.gov/en/. This information is vital to help CDC staff learn more about the virus. Live v-safe support is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or TTY 888-232-6348.
 
COVID-19 CARE LINE HOURS CHANGING
The COVID-19 care line staffed by Meritus Health nurses, which has been available since early in the pandemic for those with health care questions related to COVID-19, will now be available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. only, beginning Monday, April 12.
 
MERITUS HEALTH DRIVE-THRU SCREENING CENTER
The drive-thru screening center for COVID-19 testing is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
 
The screening center is located behind Meritus Medical Plaza at 13620 Crayton Blvd., in Hagerstown. Testing is available for anyone, including those who do not currently have symptoms of the coronavirus, but suspect or are concerned that they have been exposed. No appointments or referrals are needed to be tested. Test results are made available typically within a day through a patient’s My Chart account or primary care provider.
Essential Workers
 
Seasonal Illness Care Clinics – SIC Clinics
Meritus Health has established Seasonal Illness Care Clinics or SIC Clinics to safely accommodate patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or flu. Once a patient has been cared for by his/her provider via video or phone, the provider may refer said patient to one of the SIC Clinics. This would be for those individuals who need to be seen in person, but have COVID or flu-like symptoms preventing them from having an in-practice appointment. Symptoms that would be present to visit a SIC Clinic could include:
  • Upper respiratory illness
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Ear pain
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing
  • Generalized body aches/joint pain/muscle pain/fatigue
  • Chills
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose/sinus pain and pressure, postnasal drip
  • You’ve tested positive for COVID and have worsening symptoms
  • You have known COVID exposure and feel ill
 
SIC Clinic – North (located at Meritus Medical Plaza, 13620 Crayton Blvd.)
Hours of operation: Monday–Sunday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. including holidays
 
SIC Clinic – Smithsburg – by appointment only (located beside Meritus Pediatric & Adult Medicine – Smithsburg, 22911 Jefferson Blvd.)
Hours of operations: Monday–Thursday 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 8:30-11:30 a.m
 
UPDATED MERITUSHEALTH.COM COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE
Please visit MeritusHealth.com for additional COVID-19 resources and information including:
  • Infusion treatment now available in our community
  • E-Visits and free telehealth visits with providers
  • COVID-19 vaccine information
  • Current hospital visitor restrictions
  • How to make a donation to Meritus Health Care Heroes
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Meritus Health is making 1,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available to Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) students ages 16 and older. This allotment will be divided equally among all WCPS high schools based on student enrollment in the specified age range. WCPS is working with families to have students vaccinated during the school day if a parent or legal guardian provides written and verbal permission. Click below to learn more.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
 
The Washington County Department of Business Development announces a new round of funding programs are being offered in Washington County, Maryland. On April 20, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners approved $1.3 million in funding from the State of Maryland RELIEF Act. There are four grant programs that focus on the following industries across Washington County:
 
  • Accommodations Providers Grant – award of up to $25,000 per applicant
  • Food and Beverage Providers Grant – award of up to $12,000 per applicant
  • Online Sales and Teleworking Grant – award up to $5,000 per applicant
  • Nonprofit Recovery Grant – award of up to $25,000 per nonprofit organization
 
Applications will be available and accepted on May 3, 2021.
 
Further details and qualifications, including terms and conditions for all four grant programs, will be released on May 3, 2021, at 8:00 a.m. under the Economic Recovery section at www.WashCoRises.net. Please refer to the specific grant application for contact information and answers to questions regarding eligibility criteria or required documentation. Applicants will have two weeks to complete and submit an application for consideration. Funding is extremely limited and may ultimately result in approval on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please email [email protected] with further questions.
 
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. Click the graphic above to learn more.
 
TEDCO has a funding program that is an economic relief initiative to benefit socially and economically disadvantaged, and rural early-stage technology-based businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is state-wide and is supported by $5M recently allocated from the Governor
 
TEDCO is in the midst of deploying these funds, up to $100,000 per company; and applications are being accepted online. Please share this information with companies in your area.
 
Information about the Rural and Underserved Business Recovery from Impact of COVID-19 (RUBRIC) program can be found by clicking here. There is also a recorded open forum about this program, click here to view.
 
 
Recent Law Clarifies and Expands CARES Act Employee Retention Credit
The Internal Revenue Service urges employers to take advantage of the newly-extended employee retention credit, designed to make it easier for businesses that, despite challenges posed by COVID-19, choose to keep their employees on the payroll.
 
The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, modified and extended the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), for six months through June 30, 2021. Several of the changes apply only to 2021, while others apply to both 2020 and 2021.
 
Effective January 1, 2021, employers are eligible if they operate a trade or business during January 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, and experience either:
  1. A full or partial suspension of the operation of their trade or business during this period because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel or group meetings due to COVID-19, or
  2. A decline in gross receipts in a calendar quarter in 2021 where the gross receipts of that calendar quarter are less than 80% of the gross receipts in the same calendar quarter in 2019 (to be eligible based on a decline in gross receipts in 2020 the gross receipts were required to be less than 50%).
 
As a result of the new legislation, eligible employers can now claim a refundable tax credit against the employer share of Social Security tax equal to 70% of the qualified wages they pay to employees after December 31, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Qualified wages are limited to $10,000 per employee per calendar quarter in 2021. Thus, the maximum ERC amount available is $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for a total of $14,000 in 2021.
 
For more information, see:
 
Minority Business Fund Founded by Four Community Banks:
Four banks have collectively committed up to $1 million in interest-free loans to aid both startup and existing minority-owned small businesses within the sponsoring community bank markets. The bank serving Washington County is the Bank of Charles Town. For details check out the link.  https://www.mybct.bank/banking-on-diversity/  
 
Please forward this email to any minority-owned business you may know that could be helped by this funding opportunity. If you or any other business needs help with the loan process please feel free to reach out to Herb Melrath, SBA at [email protected] 
 
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD
 
If you need to report unemployment insurance fraud, please CLICK HERE.
PPP FAQ- The federal Paycheck Protection Program has changed several times. Here are answers to the biggest questions about the program. From the U.S. Chamber.
 
SBA has reopened the #PaycheckProtection Program loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications.
 
Early last week, SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community Financial Institutions which include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies, and Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority small businesses.
 
SBA will continue its emphasis on reaching smaller lenders and businesses by opening to approximately 5,000 more lenders, including community banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions. Moreover, the agency also plans to have dedicated service hours for these smaller lenders after the portal fully re-opens next week.
 
First Draw PPP Loans are for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020. The first round of the PPP, which ran from March to August 2020.
 
Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses, and that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
 
Read the full press release here.
 
For updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources go to https://www.sba.gov/ppp
 
FEEDBACK NEEDED FROM BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Over the last several weeks, the Chamber has been contacted by numerous members and other stakeholders regarding the role of the business community in Maryland’s mass vaccination efforts.
 
To support the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in their efforts moving forward, it is critically important that you submit your feedback to [email protected] if:
  • You have ideas on how to improve the communication resources and tools provided to support your industry in the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination effort.
  • You think you may be able to provide support for Mass Vaccination Operations and Logistics
 
Please note that providing feedback does not entitle the entity to immediate vaccine deliveries. The next phases of vaccine distribution will depend on vaccines that are allocated to Maryland through the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The intent of this effort is to gather feedback and information to better assist in Maryland’s mass vaccination planning for future phases.
 
For more information and assistance on the Stakeholder COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Operations & Logistics Capabilities Support, please contact [email protected].
 
Please visit the covidlink.maryland.gov website for more updated information on the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination in the State of Maryland. For additional information and assistance on Mass Vaccination General Inquiries email [email protected]
 
For questions, please contact Ashley Duckman, Vice President of Government Affairs, at [email protected] or 410-269-0642, ext. 1112.
 
SDAT Reminds Businesses to Verify Good Standing Status, Prepares for 2021 Filing Season
 
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) encourages business owners to look up their business’ status on Maryland Business Express to ensure they are in Good Standing with the state, and if not, to follow the steps in this Good Standing Checklist to avoid being forfeited. The Department also announced that its free 2021 Annual Report Extension System is live, which allows businesses to extend their filing deadline from April 15 to June 15, 2021.
 
Important information below from SBDC’s Financial Specialist Team if you or your business as received a PPP loan: 
 
As a PPP borrower – and with 2020 tax preparation season now in swing – the Maryland SBDC Financial Specialists Team wants to remind you about tax implications related to PPP forgiveness. Although the SBDC does NOT provide tax advice, they wanted to make you aware of a potentially KEY issue. Per IRS Notice 2020-32, expenses paid using FORGIVEN PPP funds are NOT tax-deductible expenses. This means that if your application for forgiveness is APPROVED in 2020, the expenses you paid with those “forgiven” PPP funds WILL NOT be deductible on your 2020 tax return. This could have significant “2020 income tax due” implications when you file the return. If you delay the “Forgiveness” request/get approval until 2021, that would allow time for tax planning related to the 2021 tax filing when those “forgiven” related expenses still cannot be deducted. STEPS TO TAKE: SBDC encourages you to connect ASAP with your tax preparer to consider strategies and options. Certainly, if you have any questions or want additional insights, please feel free to contact your Maryland SBDC Business Consultant, go to the www.marylandsbdc.org website to get connected with a Consultant and/or refer to our COVID19 Small Business Survival Guide.
 
Help Us Continue on Our Path to Keep Washington County Open – Please ensure your business and customers continue to follow the recommended CDC guidelines as we reopen businesses and other activities across Washington County. Wearing masks inside, social distancing, regular hand washing, and expanded cleaning is still a critical part of keeping infection rates low. By taking on these minor inconveniences, we can prevent a spike in infections which could force officials to slow down or even reverse the reopening process. The coronavirus has not gone away and we must stay vigilant until a vaccine is created. We all have a responsibility to do our part to help our economy reopen so that our many local businesses can survive and provide jobs for our citizens.
The purpose of this page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. Do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the state of Maryland’s (COVID-19) response. 
CITY OF HAGERSTOWN
 
Attention Main Street Businesses in downtown Hagerstown! A new COVID-19 business assistance grant application is LIVE!
 
  • The Main Street Hagerstown Business Stabilization Grant Program provides grants up to $5,000 for businesses located in the downtown Main Street area district. 
 
  • Is your business located in the Hagerstown Main Street District?: Click on this MAP LINK to see the boundaries of this district. 
 
Main Street Hagerstown has received special COVID-19 funding from the Governor’s Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative (MD-SERI). This funding has been made available for designated Main Street Maryland districts as part of the Governor’s initiative. These funds will be distributed on a rolling basis until allocated program funds have been dispersed into the designated district or until June 1, 2021. The grant can fund eligible expenses and purchases made from January 1, 2021 to June 1, 2021. The grant, with a maximum funding amount of $5,000/business, will be administered to businesses in order to assist in the ability to sustain, adjust, and bolster their day to day operations as well as operations that continue to be adjusted to address COVID-19 restrictions and prevention methods.
 
Guidelines and Application Form became available on Thursday, 1/28/21 on the City’s website.
 
Hagerstown’s “Music on the Square” series begins this Friday evening from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Come grab a bite or a beverage at one of Hagerstown’s many small businesses while enjoying outside seating and free live music. The weekly lineup includes light rock, folk, jazz, blues, pop rock covers, and indie performing on the Public Square – Downtown Hagerstown. Bands include:
  • April 23 – The Missing Years
  • April 30 – The Bob Sykes Trio
  • May 7 – Raising Moxie
  • May 21 – The Anita Thomas Quartet
  • June 4 – The Howlers
  • June 11 – Wild Whispers
 
COMMUNITY RESOURCES, INFO & EVENTS
Having trouble affording your utility or heating bill? We’ve got you covered. Apply for energy assistance BEFORE you receive a turn-off notice so that funds can be applied to your account as soon as possible! Click the logo to learn more.
 
Now is an excellent time to remind friends, family, and neighbors about the Senior Call Check program. It is important that we check in on our older adults, especially those living alone, to make sure they are okay.
 
 
EMERGENCY SHELTER & EVICTION ASSISTANCE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY
If you or someone you know is in sudden need of shelter and/or eviction assistance as the rental moratorium comes to an end, please contact the resources listed on the poster below.
 
During the day, all individuals/families are being directed to the Community Action Council (CAC) and/or Reach. It is very important that people be directed to these agencies for appropriate assessment of all needs and eligible services. For immediate shelter at night; adult individuals are directed to the Reach Shelter. 
 
For additional information, please contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 240-313-2380 or [email protected].
 
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Other news:

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: May 7, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: May 7, 2021

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.   Please visit www.washco-md.net/coronavirus-info for the latest numbers on Washington…
TRAFFIC ALERT: Road Closure on Independence Road

TRAFFIC ALERT: Road Closure on Independence Road

HAGERSTOWN, MD (May 7, 2021) – The Washington County Highway Department announces a road closure on Independence Road between Route 40 to the…
COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 30, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 30, 2021

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.   Please visit www.washco-md.net/coronavirus-info for the latest numbers on Washington…

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, DIRECTV and Antietam Cable Television have Points of Presence within the county. Washington County is well served and several options are available for broadband services. Resources to help your household find the right internet service plan include InternetProviders.com. Cellular telephone services are available through private local and regional vendors.