BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tourism in Baltimore City was greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, like many other major cities across the U.S. Now, city hotels will have some relief in the form of grant money, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Wednesday.
Scott announced the state released $8 million in grant funds to help hotels impacted by COVID-19.
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Visit Baltimore will manage and distribute these funds. They will begin accepting applications starting Thursday, Feb. 18.
“I want to thank Governor Hogan for making this crucial funding available for our hotels in Baltimore,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “While the pandemic is far from over and we have a long road of recovery ahead, these funds will help our hotels continue to weather these unprecedented times and play a key role in our economic rebound from COVID-19.”
To qualify for the grant money, hotels must have been open and operation before the pandemic and must have contributed sales tax revenue.
Hotels can apply at baltimore.org/hotel-grants/.
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A total of $50 million was distributed across Maryland counties and the city for hotels. This direct relief can be used for payroll expenses, rent and utilities.
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Per state guidelines, the distribution of funds must be complete by March 31, 2021 and hotels receiving the funds must have their doors open by May 1, 2021.
“Our hotel partners play an important role in Baltimore City’s tourism, and it’s no secret the industry has been decimated by COVID-19,” said Visit Baltimore President & CEO Al Hutchinson. “These funds are essential for local hotels to keep their doors open and safely welcome overnight visitors back to Baltimore when travelers are ready.”
Travelers spent $6 billion in the city in 2019, supporting 86,827 total jobs and generating $750 million in state and city tax revenues.
“I look forward to working with Visit Baltimore to manage and distribute this essential funding to Baltimore’s hotel community,” continued Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “We know that our hotels in Baltimore play a critical role in hosting our visitors and boosting our economy, and I am thrilled that this funding will provide our hotels with the much needed relief they deserve.”
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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.