Maryland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Business

Beginning 5 pm on Friday, June 5, non-essential businesses may reopen to the general public, though specific closures are still in place. Please refer to the executive order.

While some businesses who applied for Maryland Commerce Small Business COVID-19 Relief funding may have received approval notifications, please note funds are still being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning with those who applied on March 23. Please visit our FAQs for more information on disbursement.

Maryland’s COVID-19 Business Response

The State of Maryland has taken proactive steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across our state. Because of this, Maryland will move into Stage Two of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery plan, with a safe and gradual reopening of workplaces and businesses, along with additional personal services. State agencies including the Department of Commerce remain prepared to serve our clients in the business community.

“We are all in this together, and we will only get through this if we work together.” - Governor Larry Hogan



Find a full list of Governor Hogan's executive orders and interpretive guidance here.

View an ongoing list of frequently asked questions and view FAQ translations in more than 10 languages.


Reopening the Economy

As businesses transition to reopening, we will share guidance and best practices for Maryland’s companies at open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness. Please continue to check back for more details as they become available.

  • Governor Hogan has been working towards a recovery plan for the state of Maryland with a team of doctors and public health experts. It is essential that the plan move gradually in a safe, well thought-out way, to ensure the health and well being of Marylanders.
  • Maryland is under a Safer at Home public health advisory. Read the executive order.
  • As Maryland enters Stage Two of recovery, non-essential businesses can begin reopening. Our recovery is still a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. Because of this, businesses should check with their local and county governments for specific limitations and reopening regulations in their area. Find links to each of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.
  • Religious facilities and retail establishments may open to the general public but must not exceed 50 percent of their maximum occupancy at any time.
  • Personal services businesses have expanded to include the reopenings of beauty salons and barber shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons, tanning salons, and massage parlors with certain restrictions.
  • The list of permitted outdoor activities now includes drive-in movie theaters, public pools, and more. Find out more details about permitted Maryland recreational activities.

Financial Assistance

State Programs

Federal Programs

Paycheck Protection Program

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan guarantees to small businesses to assist with payroll costs for workers who are forced to stay home. Loans will be available for firms that meet SBA small business size standards, self-employed, sole proprietors, independent contractors (i.e., workers in the “gig” economy), and certain nonprofits including 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(19)s, and tribal business concerns with fewer than 500 employees.
  • This program guarantees loans issued by banks and other lenders to small businesses. Consult with your existing lender first to see if they are participating in the program or find a participating lender.
  • SBA has provided a loan forgiveness application and FAQ, and additional background on the program.

Small Business Administration

  • The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is accepting applications from agricultural businesses, including those in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries.
  • SBA allows small businesses with existing loans to defer payments by up to six months to supplement their cash flow during the crisis. Those businesses should reach out to their lenders to talk about this sort of modification.
  • View general SBA guidance for businesses or use this interactive map to find local assistance, including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE business mentors, and more.

The CARES Act

The CARES Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. Read an overview here and a Q&A from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship can be found here. More information from the U.S. Department of the Treasury can be found here. An eligibility guide for businesses can be found here.

In addition to establishing the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act creates several new resources to assist businesses during this crisis:

  • Relief to States and Territories
    • The CARES Act also creates a $150 billion Coronavirus relief fund for states and territories.
    • $139 billion is set aside for states and is allocated based on population, using latest census data. There is a minimum of $1.25 billion per state. Maryland is expected to receive an estimated $2.344 billion. Local governments in jurisdictions with populations of at least 500,000 may request a direct payment from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
      
  • Payroll Tax Credit
    • The CARES Act establishes a refundable, 50% payroll tax credit (the Employee Retention Credit) covering up to $10,000 paid per employee, including benefits from the period of March 13, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Read more, and find additional IRS guidance on Coronavirus tax relief here.
      
  • Additional Provisions
    • For companies with more than 500 employees, the CARES Act provides $500 billion distributed to distressed industries, including passenger airlines, cargo air carriers, and industries related to national security. Read more.
    • The CARES Act also includes support for economic development agencies and programs, including funding for the Community Development Block Grant, assistance to minority business development centers and minority chambers of commerce, several million for state arts and humanities agencies and partners, and more, to assist businesses in need. Read more.

Independent Lenders

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.

Local Programs

The state of Maryland and its local governments received nearly $2.4 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund established through the CARES Act. Our 24 jurisdictions will receive $1.05 billion in federal funding, either directly or from the state. Part of this allotment can be used for each county to set up a COVID-19 relief program in order to assist businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Business Closures & Restrictions During COVID-19

  • The use of face coverings are required on public transportation and inside all retail establishments. The order is effective for customers and workers of retail stores, as well as inside foodservice establishments. Read the FAQs regarding face coverings.
  • Health officials from each county and Baltimore City are authorized to close locations that are unsafe and at risk for spreading COVID-19. Businesses, organizations and other facilities may be instructed to modify their operations or movements to comply with social distancing guidelines or ordered to close altogether. Read the executive order.
  • For a list of businesses required to remain closed, please refer to the latest executive order. If you have a question whether or not your business is allowed to reopen, please contact secretary.commerce@maryland.gov.
    • 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. We encourage all employers to find alternative ways to allow employees to continue working, like teleworking; and other methods to provide services, such as remote-assistance and off-site delivery services.
  • Restricted Gatherings of More than 10 People - Social, community, recreation, leisure, 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.

Public Health Emergency Protection Act

The Governor signed emergency legislation on March 19, 2020 that includes:

  • No Fees or Co-pays for COVID-19 Tests - Ensures 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 - Allows 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.

Taxes

  • 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 taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov with questions.
  • Comptroller Franchot also extended business-related tax filing deadlines to June 1. Get additional information regarding business tax return extensions in this brief summary or read the full Maryland Tax Alert.
  • Businesses who paid their Maryland Sales & Use Taxes for March early may request a refund of their payment by emailing taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov 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 taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov.
  • The IRS moved the federal tax filing deadline to July 15. Find additional IRS guidance on Coronavirus tax relief
  • Read the guidance on COVID-19-related tax credits for businesses providing paid sick-leave.
  • The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) automatically extended the 2020 deadline to submit Annual Reports and Personal Property Tax Returns to July 15 as part of the Hogan administration’s response to COVID-19.
    • In accordance with Governor Hogan’s executive orders, expiration dates for trade names and name reservations, as well as entity forfeiture dates, will also be extended to 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded.
    • The majority of Charter and Personal Property filings can be completed online through Maryland Business Express, and turnaround times for those filings remain unchanged.
    • All tax credit applications can also be submitted online; homeowners’ and renters’ tax credit applications can be submitted through Maryland One Stop, and homestead tax credit applications through SDAT’s website. Online applications will be immediately acknowledged as received, but all applications are taking longer to process at this time.
    • PDFs of all SDAT filings and applications may also be downloaded, printed, and mailed, although the Department strongly encourages customers to complete transactions online when possible as paper fillings will take significantly longer to process.

Employer & Worker Assistance

Licensing & Permitting

  • According to the Governor’s Executive Order, all licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations issued by the state, its agencies or any political subdivision that would expire during the current state of emergency will be extended until at least the 30th day after the state of emergency is lifted.
  • Labor’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (O&P) temporarily extended all license expiration dates per the above Executive Order from Governor Larry Hogan. You are encouraged to continue taking your continuing education courses, renewing your licenses online, and performing all other activities that are required for your license to the extent that you are able. Please email dlopl-labor@maryland.gov if you have any questions.
  • Businesses that are licensed and regulated by Labor’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation can email DLFRFinReg-LABOR@maryland.gov with any questions or concerns they may have about licensing requirements.

Utilities

The Governor signed an executive order prohibiting utility companies from terminating customer service effective until July 1. Customers with questions about how their gas and electric service or their utility bills may be impacted by COVID-19 can find information and FAQs on the websites of their utility providers:

Offers, Donations & Volunteer Resources

  • Vendors wishing to contract with the State of Maryland to lease, manufacture or supply goods or services should stay tuned for postings on eMMA (electronic Maryland Marketplace Advantage). If you have not already done so, please register your business on the website.
  • Donations: MEMA is organizing product donations:
  • Donations are also being accepted at four drop off locations in Maryland. Accepted items include specialized medical equipment and some cleaning supplies. Find more information here.
    • Cambridge: 3105 Mallard Court, Cambridge, MD 21613
    • Ellicott City: 3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042
    • Hagerstown: 10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742
    • Silver Spring: 15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905
  • Requests: MEMA does not accept direct requests for PPEs or other items from companies. Companies should contact their local jurisdiction via the Emergency Manager Contact List, which will work with MEMA to fulfill requests.
  • Volunteers: If you are looking to volunteer and have a medical background, please register with Maryland Responds Reserve Medical Corps. For non-medical volunteer offers and opportunities, please register within the Maryland VOAD's Disaster Agency Response Technology (DART) platform. For additional questions visit the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism.
  • For charities or community organizations that need help, email ngs.mema@maryland.gov.
  • To find even more ways Marylanders can help, visit Maryland Unites.

Enforcement

  • The Maryland State Police is actively engaged in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they work to protect the citizens of Maryland, they will be involved, when needed, in the enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • The state is hoping for voluntary compliance with business closures. If a need for law enforcement arises, Maryland State Police will take prompt appropriate action, in partnership with state’s attorneys and local law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs across Maryland.
  • Contact will first be made with the owner or manager of the establishment. If voluntary compliance does not occur, action will be taken. That could result in the issuance of a criminal summons or warrant, or it could result in immediate arrest, depending on the circumstances in the particular situation.
  • Violation of a Governor’s Executive Order declared during a state of emergency is punishable for a fine of up to $5,000 or one-year in jail or both.
  • Separately, price gouging is illegal during an emergency and should be reported to the Maryland Attorney General's office. Complaints can be filed online or over the phone. Click here for more information.

More Information

We encourage members of the business community to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.

We also recommend that everyone regularly visit the Maryland Department of Health for the latest information on coronavirus and the Office of Governor Larry Hogan for updates on the state’s response to the outbreak.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has activated its Virtual Business Operation Center (VBOC) as of March 6 to address inquiries from the private sector. Businesses that are interested in emergency operations engagement can learn more through MEMA's Private Sector Integration Program.

The State of Maryland is committed to helping protect the health and well-being of all Marylanders. Thank you for being our partner as we face this challenge together.

Updated on June 5th, 2020 02:29AM