The Baltimore County Courthouse. Photo by James G. Howes, via Wikipedia.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. on Friday announced that the county will provide $3.5 million in grants to reimburse hotels, motels and short-term rental properties for costs related to the pandemic, including safety improvement efforts.

“Baltimore County’s tourism and hospitality industry make our communities more vibrant and diverse and we are fully committed to supporting the recovery of the businesses in this important sector,” Olszewski said in a statement. “Amid this pandemic, we will do all we can to ensure the continued success of these critical economic drivers during this challenging time.”

Businesses will be able to apply for the grants starting Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. The county will distribute funds on a first come, first-served basis.

Eligible applicants will have the opportunity to receive $557.47 per room for a maximum of $55,747, representing a maximum of 100 rooms eligible for support.

The money can be used toward rent, payroll, job training, taxes, debt service, utilities, cleaning services and supplies, and personal protective equipment.

To be eligible for the program, hotels, motels or short-term rental properties must be for-profit entities located in Baltimore County; have been in operation as of Jan. 1, 2020; and be in operation and open to the public by May 1, 2021.

Eligible hotels and motels must have a minimum of 10 rooms, while short-term rentals must have a minimum of five rooms and pay taxes.

Businesses must be registered and in good standing with Maryland’s State Department of Assessments and Taxation, and not be delinquent or in default on any Baltimore County taxes.

Hotels need to demonstrate that they experienced a 25 percent loss from April through November 2020 compared to April through November 2019.

People can visit the county’s website for more information about the COVID-19 Hotel Grant Program, including required documents and application instructions. They can also email COVIDbizrelief@baltimorecountymd.gov.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...