Business Closures, Restrictions, and Enforcement
The Role of Local Jurisdictions
- Business operations are being implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings, therefore it’s important that businesses consult guidance issued by their local jurisdiction.
- 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.
- Starting Monday, February 1, bars and restaurants will no longer be required to close at 10 p.m.
- Capacity at retail establishments and religious facilities will be reduced to 50 percent, bringing them into line with indoor dining and personal services businesses, as well as bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, roller and ice skating rinks, fitness centers, and social and fraternal clubs.
- 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.
Safety Requirements & Guidelines
- Marylanders are urged to limit all travel to essential purposes only. All Marylanders who do travel outside of Maryland or any individuals who do travel to Maryland must either obtain a negative COVID-19 test result or self-quarantine for 10 days. This applies to all states, with the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. Read the governor’s order and the companion health directives.
- Face coverings are required for all people in Maryland over the age of five when on public transportation; indoors at any public location; outdoors when unable to maintain six feet apart; obtaining healthcare services; and engaged in any work area where human interaction is likely or food is prepared or packaged. The expanded order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions. Read the FAQs regarding face coverings.
- It is critical that businesses 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. Read our best practices.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.