Vowing to persevere, theaters in Howard County and Laurel are suffering from coronavirus pandemic closures

To be or not to be, that is the question that has faced many theaters in Howard County and Laurel these past few months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While restaurants, retail stores, gyms, parks and houses of worship are allowed to reopen now that Maryland is in Phase 2, theaters remain dark, with many uncertain how they will reopen when they are given the green light. (Balt Sun)

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Target to raise its minimum wage to $15 permanently in July

Target will permanently raise its starting wages to $15 an hour next month and offer one-time bonuses of $200 to its front-line store and distribution center workers who have helped the retailer stay open throughout the coronavirus pandemic. With the permanent pay bump, benefit increases and safety investments such as protective equipment — plus a $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund — the retailer said it is spending $1 billion more in pay and benefits than it did last year. (Balt Sun)

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Md. unemployment claims drop by more than 18,000

Initial unemployment claims in Maryland dropped by more than 18,000 for the week ending June 13, one week after the state saw claims increase for the first time in a month. Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor show 22,902 Marylanders filed standard unemployment claims for the week ending June 13, a decrease of 18,736 filings from the prior week's revised figure of 41,638. At the same time, claims for pandemic assistance increased by 45%. (Balt Bus Journal)

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Baltimore barbershops help neighbors cope with trauma

In most barbershops, you might find posters that show style trends or magazines stacked on tables. But in New Beginnings barbershop, what stands out are student artwork on the walls and stacks of pamphlets promoting art exhibits and health screenings. New Beginnings is not just a place for a trim. It’s also a place where you can address health concerns and trauma that stem from violence in Baltimore. (WTOP)

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Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Foundation donating $2 million to fight against racial injustice

T. Rowe Price and its foundation are committing $2 million to organizations working to fight racial injustice, the company announced Thursday. The Baltimore-based money management firm pledged $1.3 million in grants to West Baltimore neighborhoods after the unrest incited by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries sustained in police custody. (Balt Sun)

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CARES Act provision could require government contractors disclose profits

For contractors working with the nation's 17 intelligence agencies, a provision in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was meant to help them retain their employees has come with some thorny consequences. Section 3610 of the stimulus package allows the intelligence community to modify contract terms to allow contractors to keep their employees at a “ready state,” with agencies reimbursing up to 40 hours of paid leave per employee. It also allows agencies the discretion to reimburse contractors at the minimum applicable contract billing rates. (Wash Bus Journal)

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New SBA PPP rules allow for bigger salaries. But there's a catch.

The Small Business Administration has officially expanded the amount business owners can pay themselves and their employees and still get full forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program Loans. The expansion comes after the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was signed into law June 5, giving businesses 24 weeks to spend loan proceeds, up from eight weeks, and allows up to 40% of the loan to be used for nonpayroll purposes such as rent, mortgage interest and utilities. (Wash Bus Journal)

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Howard County extends business relief grant application deadline, expands eligibility

Howard County has extended the HoCo RISE Business Grants deadline to June 30 for all three grant programs, officials said Thursday. The Storefront Retail grant now has an expanded list of eligible businesses to include other types of storefront service providers that were forced to close or operate at limited capacity. This includes, but is not limited to, fitness facilities, fine art studios, dry cleaners, and other service providers. Applications will remain open until June 30 at 11:59 p.m. (Daily Record)

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