Business Closures & Restrictions During COVID-19
- AS OF 5 P.M. ON MARCH 23, ALL NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES IN MARYLAND ARE ORDERED TO CLOSE. - Read Governor Hogan's executive order for more information. For guidance on this order, including a list of businesses, organizations and facilities which may remain open, please read the Interpretive Guidance Document. This list draws on federal guidance regarding the essential critical workforce, which can be found here.
- If you have questions or concerns surrounding the essential designation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, which is monitored by the Maryland Emergency Management team.
- Closure of all Entertainment Venues and Enclosed Shopping Malls - This includes bowling alleys, amusement parks, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks, and other venues, and is in addition to the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers that was previously announced. Businesses which provide drive-through, carry-out, and food delivery services may continue to do so. Read about specific closures in the executive order.
- Carry-out and Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages - Businesses that serve alcohol are now permitted to provide carry-out and delivery of alcoholic beverages. Read the executive order.
- Restricted Gatherings of More than 10 People - Social, community, religious, recreation, and sporting events and gatherings of more than 10 people are now strictly prohibited in all locations and venues in Maryland. This follows updated CDC guidelines. Read more about the restrictions in the executive order.
- Businesses Not Mentioned in Executive Orders
- If your business is one that is permitted by the executive order to remain open, and you choose to do so, it is critical that you follow social distancing guidelines and effective cleaning and disinfection, and do everything in your power to prevent groups of 10 or more people from congregating in one area. Public utility, such as the need to provide food or essential supplies, must be balanced with the need to preserve public health. Guidance from the CDC for businesses is available here.
- Please know that we encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking. We also encourage companies to find other methods to continue providing services, whether that is through remote-assistance or off-site delivery services.
- Restricted Use of Public Transportation - Public transit such as MARC, Amtrak, Metro, or bus services should be used for essential travel only. Essential travel means taking trips to work, hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, schools, to provide care for family members, and other similar destinations. By reducing unnecessary travel, transit becomes safer for those who depend on it, especially essential healthcare workers, and for those who operate it. We encourage all employers to consider telework options where possible. Please visit the Maryland Transit Administration for specifics on essential travel and updated route and scheduling information.
Finding Work During COVID-19Looking for work during COVID-19 is hard when you can't leave your apartment. Read this article to find out companies that are currently hiring and allow for online and remote work opportunities.
Public Health Emergency Protection ActThe Governor signed emergency legislation on March 19, 2020 that includes:
- No Fees or Co-pays for COVID-19 Tests - Ensuring that Marylanders will not be charged fees or co-pays for COVID-19 tests.
- No Price-Gouging - Prohibits price-gouging for food, fuel, medicine, cleaning products and other essential supplies.
- Workers Cannot be Terminated - Guarantees that Marylanders cannot be terminated from their jobs because they have been isolated or quarantined.
- Unemployment Benefits - Will allow the Secretary of Labor to extend unemployment benefits to workers who cannot work because they are quarantined, at risk for exposure, or to care for a family member with COVID-19.
Resources for Business
Below are additional resources provided by a number of federal and state government agencies that businesses may find helpful. This list will be updated as the situation develops and as new resources become available.
Financial Assistance & Taxes
- The Maryland Department of Commerce is offering three new business assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund - This $75 million loan fund offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
- Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - This $50 million grant program offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.
- Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund - This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More information coming by Friday, March 27, 2020.
- If you have specific questions about these funds, please email email@example.com.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide low-interest loans to companies affected by the outbreak, with President Trump asking Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program to $50 billion.
- Governor Hogan announced on March 19 that the entire state of Maryland has received official designation for SBA assistance. Individual businesses can now apply directly to the SBA for low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Visit SBA's website to apply now.
- General SBA guidance for businesses can be found here. If you need additional help navigating the SBA process, Maryland SBDC can help.
- Maryland business and individual income taxpayers will be given a 90-day extension for tax payments. No interest or penalty for late payments will be imposed if 2019 tax payments are made by July 15, 2020. See 90-day extension for tax payments for more information, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- Comptroller Franchot also extended business-related tax filing deadlines to June 1. Get additional information regarding business tax returns - including sales and use tax, alcohol tax, etc. - and income tax extensions.
- Businesses who paid their Maryland Sales & Use Taxes for March early may request a refund of their payment by emailing email@example.com or by calling 410-260-4020.
- Taxpayers who have set up a payment through their own online banking services will need to stop that transaction through their banks. Taxpayers who have scheduled a payment through the Comptroller’s iFIle or bFile can request to have a debit from their account stopped as long as it is at least 3 days prior to the scheduled payment date. If taxpayers have individual requests for assistance, they should contact Taxpayer Services at 410-260-7980 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The federal tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15. Learn more.
- Maryland banks, credit unions, and financial service providers are operating under precautionary measures, with increased focus on mobile, phone, and online services. If you anticipate having trouble making a loan payment, please notify your lender or loan servicing company as soon as possible to discuss your options. Early and regular communication is important. More information from the Maryland Bankers Association. And, view a list of credit unions operating in Maryland and their contact information.
Employer & Worker Assistance
- The Maryland Department of Labor is now accepting applications for the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which can provide funds to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, provide on-site cleaning and sanitation services or other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures. To see details or apply please visit this website.
- The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance for businesses and employees.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has developed some guidelines for how companies can prepare their workplace for COVID-19. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a COVID-19 website with information specifically for workers and employers. There is also information on issues relating to wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Labor and Industry enforces the Maryland Health Working Families Act, also known as Safe and Sick Leave, which may be useful for employees who need to take off from work due to COVID-19. Learn more about the Maryland Health Working Families Act here, or email email@example.com.
- If a business experiences a temporary or permanent layoff, Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Bulk Claim Services can open unemployment insurance claims for all affected employees. To determine if a business is eligible, please visit our Bulk Claims Services Frequently Asked Questions page. If a business is eligible, they should contact a Claims Representative by emailing UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov. For additional information, visit the Department of Labor's COVID-19 FAQ page.
- Labor’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning enforces the Rapid Response System, which works collaboratively with the State’s businesses and workers to minimize the impact of economic disruptions caused by layoffs and plant or business operations closing.
- Labor’s Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance is available to help Maryland business owners find timely and effective solutions to issues, so they can go about running their companies. They can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Maryland Insurance Administration has shared insight into Business Interruption Insurance on their website. MIA has also put together an FAQ addressing insurance-related questions about coronavirus.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to COVID-19.
For more information regarding Governor Larry Hogan, please visit The Hogan Administration’s COVID-19 Response.