Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Payment Form Questions

Harford County will administer the COVID-19 Winter Restaurant Relief Grant Program, which will provide grants of $10,000 each to eligible Harford County food service establishments to cover costs to sustain operations through the winter.   
  

Does my business qualify?
To qualify, a restaurant must: 

  • Must be located in Harford County;   
  • Must own, rent, or lease a permanent or mobile commercial food and beverage service location in Harford County (home-based food service establishments are not eligible);  
  • Must maintain food and beverage service as primary operation
  • Must have been in operation prior to October 1, 2020 and must operate year-round (seasonal businesses are not eligible);   
  • Should be open to the public for on-site food and/or beverage preparation and service at least 5 days a week;  
  • Must be in good standing with Harford County Government, and registered with the state, if required to do so by law; 
  • May not currently be in default on any loans from Harford County or delinquent on any taxes, fees, or other charges owed to Harford County.

What can I use the funding for?  
Funds are to be used for the sustainment of operations through the winter. These costs may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)  
  • Rent or mortgage payments (may be a past payment extending back to March 1, 2020 or a pre-payment extending through March 31, 2021 but all payments must be made by December 30, 2020
  • Utility payments  
  • Payroll costs  
  • Barriers to maintain physical distancing, including during worker and customer interaction  
  • Additions or upgrades to carry-out proceedings (new software, touchless payment, delivery equipment, etc.)  
  • Indoor/outdoor seating enhancements to expand seating capacity throughout winter months (may be a past payment extending back to March 1, 2020 or a pre-payment extending through March 31, 2021 but all payments must be made by December 30, 2020

Can the grant be applied to expenditures from before the receipt of funds?
All funds must be used for expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Funds may be applied to a past payment extending back to March 1, 2020 or a pre-payment extending through March 31, 2021 but all payments must be made by December 30, 2020

How can I access the required application documents?
Click the links below to access all the required documentation: 
Application (click here)     

When can I submit the application?
You can email the application and all required documents to restaurantrelief@harfordcountymd.gov starting on October 7, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. Email subject line must read the name of the business applicant.  All forms must be typed except for where legal signatures are required.

Will an electronic or typed signature be accepted on the application, W-9, or Direct Deposit/EFT Form?
 No. A physical signature is needed on all forms.   

Can I receive these funds if I have already received another Harford County COVID-19 Business Relief grant?
Yes.  

What if I applied for another Harford County COVID-19 Business Relief grants and was told I was ineligible. Can I still apply for the Winter Restaurant Relief Grant Program?
If you applied for other relief grants and were deemed ineligible because your business did not meet criteria for eligibility, you may still be eligible for the Restaurant Relief Grant Program and are encouraged to apply.  

What could make me eligible for this program if I was ineligible for other Harford County COVID-19 Business Relief grants?
Some examples of newly eligible businesses may include: mobile food service establishments; food and/or beverage service establishments that have opened between March 9, 2020 and October 1, 2020; or food and/or beverage service establishments that did not meet employee requirements for the Small Business Relief Grant.

What happens if I submit my application before October 7 at 8 a.m.?
Applications and required documents WILL NOT be accepted prior to 8 a.m. on October 7, 2020. Any attempted email submission before 8 a.m. on October 7 will not be held in a queue and must be resubmitted for consideration. 

How many employees do I need to have in order to qualify for this grant?
There is no employment requirement associated with this grant.    

What documentation do I need to submit?

  • Fully-completed (typed) application (handwritten applications will not be accepted EXCEPT where a legal inked signature is required);  
  • Completed W9 form;   
  • Completed Direct Deposit Form . The Direct Deposit Form is also known as the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Form;  
  • Application checklist has been provided for your convenience
    Please note: The subject line of your email submission must read your business name.    

I need to resubmit my application. Do I need to resubmit everything, or just what needed correction?
Please resubmit your application with all the required paperwork, including that which needed to be corrected, to restaurantrelief@harfordcountymd.gov. Your re-submission will be reviewed in the order it was received.

How will I know if you have received my application?
You will receive an automated response confirming the receipt of your application. If you do not receive an automated response, please check your SPAM folder and/or verify the email address to which you submitted your application reads restaurantrelief@harfordcountymd.gov

How can I find out the status of my application?
Applications are reviewed in the order they are received by our Relief Grant Response Team. Once an application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation that your application has been received and is under review. After all documents are reviewed for completion and accuracy by our team, you will receive notification concerning the status of your application. An application may be rejected or returned for one or more of the following reasons: the business is ineligible under program terms; information provided in required documentation is inaccurate, and/or; the application or required documentation are incomplete. In the event that the application was rejected but the business is eligible, your notification of status will clearly identify the reasons for returning the application and you will be able to resubmit a new application with the required adjustments. Due to the large number of applications we are reviewing, we will not be providing individual updates of application status.

What type of documentation will be required in the case of an audit?
This would be documentation following generally accepted accounting principles for how the funds are expended, including but not limited to: financial records, payroll records, or receipts. Records of how the grant funds are used must be produced upon receiving a request from the federal government, the State of Maryland, and/or Harford County, and these records are subject to audit.

What if I submit an incomplete application? Will I keep my place in line?
If an incomplete application is received, the applicant will be notified of the issue regarding incompletion and asked to resubmit the fully completed application with all documentation. The applicant’s place in the queue will not be saved as other completed applications will continue moving forward. 

If I have applied for other Federal and/or State COVID-19 related assistance, can I still apply for this grant?
Yes.  

When will I receive my grant funds?
Applications will be processed and funded as quickly as possible. 

How many businesses will be awarded funds?
Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and eligible businesses will be awarded grants until dedicated funds are expended. 

Is there a physical address where I can mail or drop off my application?
No. Applications will only be accepted electronically. The applications and documentation must be submitted in one email to restaurantrelief@harfordcountymd.gov. An automated response will be generated, confirming receipt of the application. 

How much is the grant award?
$10,000. 

Is a franchise eligible for this grant?
Yes. The business will need to be located in Harford, meet the criteria, and expend the dollars in accordance with the grant.   

I am a convenience store who prepares and sells food. Am I eligible? Yes, but all food must be prepared and served on location.  

I am a mobile food service location that operates in Harford County. Am I eligible?
Yes, if the business’ address of registration is in Harford County and all food is prepared and served on location.

Can breweries/vineyards/distilleries apply for this grant?
Yes.

Are businesses that prepare and serve food and/or beverages but do not operate primarily as a food and beverage service establishment, such as hotels, fitness centers, movie theaters, etc., eligible for the program?
No, to be eligible for the program a business’ PRIMARY operation must be food and beverage service. 

I operate multiple restaurants or restaurant locations throughout Harford County.  Can I apply for each location?
Yes. Separate applications may be submitted for each restaurant location in separate emails. 

Can I use the funds for expenses associated with a tent to expand seating capacity outside of my restaurant?
Yes.

Are the funds available for the lease of equipment, like tents, heaters, or barriers, through March 31, 2021?
Yes, funds may be used for that purpose, but any payments and/or pre-payments must be made by December 30, 2020.

If I prepare food in one location but serve it in another, am I eligible? No, all food must be prepared and served on location.  

Are home-based business eligible?
No, home-based businesses are ineligible for the program.  

Is the data that I submit secure?
If the applicant prefers to submit data securely, it is the sole responsibility of the applicant to submit through a secured or encrypted format. Once data has been received by Harford County Government, all data at rest is encrypted in a secure format.  

Are the grant funds considered taxable income?
We encourage business owners to reach out to a local tax professional regarding their unique situation.

What information is absolutely needed for the application to be complete?
Businesses will need to provide outlined documentation to satisfy the grant requirements.  

Who will be reviewing the grant applications?
An extensive first-come, first-served process has been established involving county staff from multiple departments and will include several stages of management review. 

With regards to the MD Public Information Act Disclosure for the Relief Grant Programs, what information and documentation submitted with the application is subject to public disclosure?
Any document deemed a public record by the Maryland Public Information Act is subject to disclosure in response to a request under said law. For more information, visit https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/OpenGov/pia.aspx.  

How were the eligibility criteria established for the program?
Harford County Government created the program in compliance with the CARES Act and focused on businesses as the core of the program.  While we do understand that some businesses may not be eligible for funds, we highly encourage those individuals to take advantage of the business resources available through the state of Maryland at https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-fund-programs.   

Who can I contact for assistance with the application? 
If you need assistance with assessing your eligibility or compiling the needed documents for your application, we advise that you consult with your financial or legal advisors. For assistance with filling out the application, please contact our local Small Business Development Center at http://www.mdsbdc.umd.edu/locations/northern-region.