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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
- 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
- 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 (English guide, Spanish guide). 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 U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for employees and employers as well as a general FAQ sheet. Please find additional implementation guidance which includes two posters – one for federal workers and one for all other employees – that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under the new law. In addition, the Wage and Hour Division released a question and answer document about posting requirements, as well as a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Beginning on April 24, all new and previously ineligible claimants, as well as claimants who could only file by phone, can now apply for Unemployment Insurance using the new one-stop online portal. Please visit the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance homepage for application details.
- 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 Labor's Bulk Claims Services Frequently Asked Questions page. If a business is eligible, they should contact a Claims Representative by emailing UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov. Additionally, please contact UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov if you need to change the return to work date for your employees. For information on unemployment insurance qualifications, new provisions under the CARES Act as well as an updated process to apply for benefits, visit Labor's Unemployment homepage.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
- During these uncertain times, as businesses transition to remote work and make changes to technology, we are more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks than ever before. To assist, CAMI is providing an incident hotline for businesses.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com.
To find even more ways Marylanders can help, visit Maryland Unites.