COVID-19 Updates: State of Maryland

June 10, 2020

At yesterday’s press conference, Governor Hogan announced the next phase of the State’s re-opening plan, which includes the following (subject to further restriction by local government):  

  • Subject to limitations (such as 50% capacity), restaurants will be able to re-open to in-door dining effective Friday, June 12 at 5 pm. 
  • Outdoor pools and other recreational activities will able to open at 50% capacity, and subject to other public health measures, Friday, June 12 at 5pm
  • Subject to limitations (such as 50% capacities), in-door shopping malls and casinos will be able to re-open Friday, June 19 at 5 pm. 
  • Gyms and other fitness facilities may open at 50% capacity, and subject to other public health measures, Friday, June 19 at 5 pm. 
  • All child care providers may reopen, as long as they follow all Department of Health protocols. Class sizes in child care centers are now expanded to a maximum of 15 individuals per classroom.


June 3, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, the Governor announced the State is now entering Phase Two of the economic recovery.  The Governor noted that while all Counties and Baltimore City have entered Phase One, the decision to enter Phase Two is at the discretion of the local governments.  Effective on Friday, June 5, Maryland will be lifting the order requiring the closure of some non-essential businesses.  Some personal service businesses (including but not limited to nail salons, tanning salons, massage/tattoo parlors) that may reopen at 50% capacity, by appointment only, and with strict safety protocols.  Additional guidance for businesses is attached. 

May 27, 2020

In this afternoon’s press conference, Governor Hogan announced further relaxation of restrictions related to COVID-19.  While individual counties and the City of Baltimore will be authorized to keep restrictions in place if deemed necessary to prevent exposure to COVID-19, effective Friday, May 29th at 5:00 pm at the State level, the following facilities may open:

  • Food Service Establishments: restaurants, bars, and other similar establishments, as well as social and fraternal clubs with dining facilities may sell food or beverages for on-premises consumption outdoors provided certain protocols are followed (except for households seated together, patrons must be seated at least six feet away from each other and in groups not larger than six persons; food may not be served in a buffet format, all staff shall wear face coverings, and each table shall be cleaned and disinfected between each seating).
  • Outdoor recreation: in addition to the outdoor recreational facilities already permitted to open, the following additional establishments may open to the general public:
    • drive-in movie theaters,
    • tour boats, and
    • outdoor swimming pools and day camps (provided safety directives from the MD Department of Health are followed).
  • Best Practices:

May 13, 2020

Governor Hogan announced yesterday that the state will enter Phase 1 of its Recovery Plan on Friday, May 15th at 5:00 p.m.   This includes:

  1. Lifting the stay-at-home order, which is replaced with a “Safer at Home” public health advisory;
  2. Reopening of retail establishments subject to certain conditions including the requirement that the total number of persons permitted in a retail establishment at any time shall not exceed 50% of the establishment’s maximum capacity;
  3. Reopening of certain personal services establishments, including beauty salons (but only to provide hair services) and barber shops, subject to certain conditions;
  4. Reopening of houses of worship subject to certain conditions; and
  5. Reopening of manufacturing establishments subject to certain conditions.

Those who can continue to work at home are encouraged to do so.  Here are the new Executive Order and Interpretive Guidance.

May 6, 2020

  • In a press conference this afternoon Governor Hogan signaled that Maryland’s stay-at-home order could be lifted as early as next week, while also announcing an immediate easing of restrictions on some low-risk activities and the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year. Per his Fifth Amended Executive Order, effective May 7, 2020 at 7:00 am, outdoor activities that can resume include: golf, tennis, camping, fishing, and boating. Closed functions at state parks will be reopened, including all state beaches for walking and exercise, as well as playgrounds. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their own discretion.

    The MD Department of Health will issue guidance, effective immediately, to allow for elective procedures at the discretion of local hospitals and health care providers.

    Finally, to assist businesses across the state as they start to reopen, the State has prepared industry-specific best practices. Guidance is currently available for golf courses and marinas.

April 15, 2020

  • Governor Hogan announced an Executive Order requiring face coverings for those inside retail establishments and riding any public transportation in Maryland, effective Saturday at 7:00 a.m. The Order also directs foodservice establishment workers (including delivery personnel) to wear face coverings while at work, and mandates that all retail establishments make good faith efforts to provide for six-foot spacing where any queue is expected to form, sanitize or provide customers with means to sanitize, handles of carts/baskets, and post signage at each entrance advising customers about the requirement to wear face coverings.
  • Maryland courts have extended their closure through June 5, 2020 – all matters scheduled to be heard are postponed or suspended unless otherwise ordered.  Courts may continue to conduct remote hearings for emergency matters and resolve matters that may be addressed without a proceeding.

April 10, 2020

April 6, 2020

  • Yesterday, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order delegating to County Health Officials the authority to control the operations of and, if necessary, order the closure of facilities that would otherwise be permitted to remain open as essential businesses if it is determined that the facility is unable or unwilling to operate in a manner that does not pose an unreasonable risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19. 

  • In addition, the Governor also issued an Executive Order authorizing the Maryland Secretary of Health to issue directives governing the operation of nursing homes to minimize the transmission of COVID-19.  Copies of both orders are attached.

April 3, 2020

  • Governor Hogan issued a new Executive Order expanding the earlier prohibition on evictions to now include commercial evictions as well.  

March 31, 2020

  • Per newly issued guidance, the Governor’s Office is advising employers to provide a letter to employees who must commute to and from work to establish their need to travel if challenged. 
  • In addition, the guidance provides that persons traveling into Maryland from anywhere outside Maryland are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, except for persons who regularly commute into Maryland or persons who are traveling through Maryland.
  • The most recent guidance also clarifies that the definition of “essential” business as set forth in the March 23, 2020 guidance has not changed.

March 30, 2020

March 26, 2020

March 25, 2020

  • The Governor’s Office published additional guidance regarding staff access to non-essential businesses to clarify that, while non-essential businesses are required to close to the public, the order does not prohibit staff from being on site as reasonably necessary for limited purposes, as detailed in the order listed below.

March 24, 2020

  • Last night, the Governor’s Office issued additional guidance concerning the businesses that may remain open during the state of emergency and confirmed that colleges and universities that provide on-campus housing are not required to displace students in dormitories who have no other reasonably accessible place of residence. The guidance also encourages retail establishments that remain open to modify their operations to conduct as much business as possible remotely and to limit in-store interactions where practicable.

March 23, 2020

  • In an effort to limit price gouging during the state of emergency, this Executive Order prohibits retailers from increasing the sale or rental price of certain goods or services to a price that increases the retailer’s value of profit by more than 10%.
  • The Governor also issued an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Health to implement a process to authorize laboratories in Maryland to develop and perform testing for COVID-19.

March 19, 2020

  • U.S. Small Business Administration formally designated Maryland as eligible for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per the SBA:

  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

  • Events of more than 10 people in close proximity are now prohibited. The state will close all enclosed shopping malls and entertainment venues at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020.

March 18, 2020

March 17, 2020

  • Governor Hogan’s counsel issues guidance on interpretive definitions of various businesses who face closing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic with specific regard to shopping malls, food courts, food trucks, private clubs, funerals, barbershops, and more.
  • The primary election has been postponed until June 2, 2020.

March 16, 2020

  • All bars and restaurants have been closed to the general public as of 5:00 p.m. on March 16, 2020 per the attached Executive Order.  Carry-out, drive-through, and delivery operations may continue to function.  Similarly, fitness centers, theaters, bingo halls, and governmental buildings with an occupancy of more than 50 people have also been closed.  
  • By Executive Order, the Governor has extended the expiration of all licenses and permits that would otherwise expire during the State of Emergency.  Among other things, this includes liquor licenses issued by local Liquor Boards which expire by their terms on April 30, 2020.  However, the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City has NOT extended the March 31, 2020 filing deadline for renewal applications.  Per the attached press release, these are being collected in a drop box located outside the Liquor Board’s offices.
  • The Maryland General Assembly is adjourning early, on Wednesday, March 18th.  As of Monday, roughly 2,400 bills remained pending, although legislators announced they would be suspending rules to expedite the enactment of legislation. Lawmakers have announced that they plan to return to session during the last week of May, after Memorial Day, to pick up unfinished work.
  • Non-essential state employees, who are able, have been directed to work from home. Many state offices are open, but closed to the public. For questions, the specific agency should be contacted directly.
  • Chief Judge Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals has issued an order closing courts throughout Maryland to the public during the period from March 16 through April 3, subject to limited exceptions.
  • For employees/employers with unemployment insurance questions, the Department of Labor is answering frequently asked questions on its website.

March 11, 2020

  • Peter Franchot announced the extension of business-related tax filing deadlines until June 1 and pledged that if the IRS extends its April 15th filing deadline for corporate and individual income tax returns, Maryland will conform to the decision of the IRS.