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Business Closures, Restrictions, and Enforcement

The Role of Local Jurisdictions 

  • Businesses should still continue to check with their local and county governments for specific limitations and reopening regulations in their area.
  • 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.

State-Level Restrictions

  • Capacity limits will be lifted on outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants and bars, retail businesses, religious facilities, fitness centers, gaming and certain racing facilities, personal services, and indoor recreational establishments.
  • Bars and restaurants will be open for seated and distanced service only—patrons may not stand at a crowded bar. Masking, physical distancing, and other safety protocols will remain in place.
    • For indoor restaurants, table limits are increased from 6-10 people.
    • Every booth can be utilized indoors with appropriate divider separation, as opposed to every other booth.
    • Buffets are allowed to operate with precautions
    • Please visit the Maryland Department of Health’s Food Service Protection Website for additional details 
  • Large outdoor and indoor venues may begin operating at 50% capacity. 
  • Medical adult day care centers may reopen, with facilities able to set appropriate restrictions and safety measures.
  • See proclamations and orders issued by Governor Larry Hogan related to COVID-19, along with interpretive guidance from the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel here.
  • A travel advisory remains in place, but quarantine requirements are lifted for Marylanders who do travel outside of the state. Marylanders are still strongly encouraged to limit travel and obtain a negative COVID-19 test result upon return to the state. Read the governor’s order.

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.
  • Complaints and concerns can also be directed to the state-wide toll-free number and email address to report situations of concern where prevention guidelines are being ignored and the potential for the spread of COVID-19 is high. Callers/emailers may remain anonymous. That information is 1-833-979-2266 or prevent.covid@maryland.gov.

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.