Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses
The State of Maryland has taken far-reaching and proactive steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across our state, including ordering state employees to telework, closing public schools, closing casinos and racetracks, and activating the National Guard so it is ready to carry out any emergency functions that may be needed.
Governor Hogan has ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers effective at 5 p.m. on March 16. Businesses which provide drive-through, carry-out, and food delivery services may continue to do so. Read about specific closures in the executive order.
Gatherings of more than 50 people—including social, community, religious, recreation, and sporting events—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.
These unprecedented measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and save the lives of Marylanders.
On March 17, the Governor announced significant reductions in MARC training, local and commuter bus, and light rail services in order to slow the spread of the virus. Please visit the Maryland Transit Administration for updated route and scheduling information.
State agencies including the Department of Commerce remain prepared to serve our clients in the business community.
Maryland is still “Open for Business.”
View an ongoing list of frequently asked questions here for Maryland businesses planning and responding to the Coronavirus.
Additionally, you can view a Department of Health webinar featuring information and guidance for businesses about coronavirus and preventing its spread in the workplace here.
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.
Employer & Worker Assistance
- The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance for businesses and employees which can be found here.
- 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 available here.
- 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. To learn more about the law, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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. Businesses should contact a Claims Representative by emailing UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov. For more information, visit the Department of Labor’s COVID-19 FAQ page.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Financial Assistance & Taxes
- President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide low-interest loans to companies affected by the outbreak, and that he will ask Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program to $50 billion.
- Governor Hogan has officially submitted an application to the SBA to ensure that Maryland businesses can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Commerce is working closely with our business community and local partners to identify businesses that may benefit from this assistance.
- General SBA guidance for businesses can be found here.
- Currently, businesses in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County are eligible to apply for assistance as part of the Capital Region – visit SBA’s website to apply now. Once the state of Maryland receives official designation, individual businesses can then apply directly to the SBA for loans. We will update this section as we receive more information.
- The Comptroller of Maryland has extended individual and business tax filing deadlines to July 15. According to a previous release, a dedicated email address has been established for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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. View a list of credit unions operating in Maryland and their contact information.
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) is temporarily extending license expiration dates until May 1, which is subject to being extended as the response to the coronavirus situation evolves. They can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.
- 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 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.
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.