As the state is in its third phase of recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to affect our lives in numerous ways. From working and schooling at home, to ordering groceries online or only ordering takeout, College Park residents have had to adjust their whole way of life. Unfortunately, for some, this crisis meant losing their jobs or livelihoods because of business closures or service disruptions. Many restaurants and businesses had to lay off their workers and/or close their doors leaving their futures uncertain.

In response to the crisis, the City has created programs to address resident, business, and non-profit organization needs. The Council and staff have developed a plan with more than $1,500,000 in COVID-19 assistance to help those experiencing financial hardship during this difficult time. The goal of these programs and initiatives is to help our residents and businesses get back on their feet as the recovery process begins.

Currently, there are two programs that eligible College Park businesses can apply for: the Small Business Assistance Grants Program and the Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement Program.

The purpose of the City’s Small Business Assistance Grants Program is to assist small businesses (and non-profits if allowed by CARES Act funding requirements) with 25 or fewer full-time equivalents (FTEs), with direct economic support for costs of business interruption caused by: required closures, voluntary closures to promote social distancing, or decreased customer demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each business/owner can receive up to a maximum grant of $15,000 from this program.

The Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement program is similar to the existing program except that it does not require matching funds. For more information about these programs or to apply, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#businesses.

To further help our business community, the City authorized the following: waived non-residential business license fees until the end of FY2021 for retail and hotel/motel establishments; and suspended sign or banner permits and regulations to help businesses advertise.

For a list of College Park businesses currently open, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19#openbusinesses.

The City has also created a program to provide financial aid for residents in need. The purpose of the City’s Emergency Financial Aid to Residents Program is to provide financial assistance to families, senior citizens and other individuals who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance may be provided for eligible expenses such as rent/mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure, unforeseen funeral costs, utility payments, and other emergency needs as deemed necessary. Each eligible family/person can get up to a maximum of $5,000 per household for indirect payments to applicable payee (landlord, lender, Utility Company) and/or gift cards for eligible expenses from this program. For more information about this program or to apply, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#residents.

To support our non-profit organizations that provide food to our residents, the City has given $64,000 in grants to the College Park Meals on Wheels and the College Park Food Bank. Both organizations directly help our residents who are food insecure or unable to procure food during this time. Their daily and weekly meal deliveries or food pantries have helped hundreds in our community who have needed it most.

The City has been working very hard to provide as much support as possible to our residents and business community. However, these are not the only resources for our residents and businesses. For a non-comprehensive list of federal, state, and county resources, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19. Further resources can be found on their websites.

Together we will get through this difficult time. For more information about the City’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19.