ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Maryland Department of Labor’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund has saved 21,555 jobs and supported 1,267 small businesses through two rounds of funding, totaling over $31 million. One of several relief programs originally introduced by the governor in March 2020 and expanded through additional funding in October 2020, the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund has enabled the state to quickly provide crucial financial assistance to help Maryland small businesses avoid layoffs and closures. 

“The state has delivered more than $1.7 billion in emergency relief for Maryland’s struggling families and small businesses, including over $31 million for the tremendously successful Layoff Aversion Fund,” said Governor Hogan. “Labor’s Layoff Aversion Fund provided a critical lifeline, funding nearly 1,300 small businesses in every county across the state, keeping their doors open for business, and saving over 21,500 jobs during these unprecedented times.”

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The first round of funding announced in March 2020 awarded over $10 million in grants to 445 small businesses and saved 8,819 jobs. The second round of funding announced in October 2020 awarded over $21 million in grants to support 822 small businesses and save 12,736 jobs across the state. Combined awards from both rounds of funding invested more than $31 million back into the state’s economy.

“We are very thankful to Governor Hogan for expanding the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund and to our team at Labor for quickly approving applications to provide our state’s struggling small businesses with much-needed funding to adapt their business models and keep Marylanders employed,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson. “The success stories and overwhelmingly positive feedback from grantees and their employees give us hope in these challenging times.”

Grantees used the average award size of $25,725 for needs such as purchasing remote access equipment and software to promote teleworking, assisting with employee training and education, purchasing cleaning supplies and services to maintain an onsite workforce, and taking advantage of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing employee income.

Some of the Maryland small businesses that received assistance include:

Union Craft Brewing

When Union Craft Brewing opened its doors in 2012, it was the first new production brewery in Baltimore City in over 30 years. With an award of nearly $50,000, Union Craft Brewing was able to save 22 jobs, which otherwise may have been lost due to the impact of COVID-19.

“A significant amount of our sales come from selling kegs to bars and restaurants across the state,” said the business’s founder, Adam Benesch. “These venues have either been shut down or have been operating under severe limitations for several months now because of the pandemic. The grant has provided much needed funds to help us weather the storm by making adjustments to our business to keep our team employed and safe while at work. We have been able to purchase the appropriate personal protective equipment, invest in new software platforms that allow for contactless payment, and make upgrades to our HVAC system to make it safer to both work and welcome guests here. We are grateful to be a local Maryland business and have our state provide support to us and so many other local businesses navigating these unprecedented times.”

United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore

United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore has been serving communities in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties for over 75 years through collaboration with organizations and stakeholders to support 80 programs and community initiatives. They received a grant of more than $12,000 that enabled eight employees to observe social distancing by working remotely.

“Not only did the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund help United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore keep our team employed by providing the ability to telework, it allowed our dedicated staff and volunteers to continue to carry out the mission of our organization and support the health, education, and financial stability needs of our neighbors,” said President and CEO Pam Gregory. “In the midst of a pandemic, providing continuity of services and ensuring that collaborations continue with our community and nonprofit partners became of paramount importance. The Layoff Aversion Fund provided the critical resources we needed to respond and adapt to our community’s needs.” 


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