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Maryland: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

MARYLAND

February 23, 2021:

On February 23, 2021, Governor Hogan announced the opening of a FEMA-supported mass vaccination site no later than March 11 at Regency Furniture Stadium in Charles County. FEMA will provide more than 100 personnel—including trained vaccinators—to help staff the site and provide technical assistance.

Also on February 23, Governor Hogan ordered that face coverings are required for anyone over the age of five in school settings where interaction with others is likely, including classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, auditoriums, and gymnasiums.

February 22, 2021:

On February 22, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that registration is open for eligible Marylanders to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the state’s newest mass vaccination site, which opens Thursday, February 25 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore City. Individuals must complete a new registration specifically for the M&T Bank Stadium Mass Vaccination site, which will offer vaccinations to those who are eligible in Phases 1A, 1B, and 1C. Eligible individuals have two options for making an appointment:

  • Completing the online form available at covidvax.maryland.gov; or
  • Calling 855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to request an appointment. Representatives are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Individuals should expect potential prolonged wait times on the phone due to call volume.

February 18, 2021:

On February 17, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that a new variant of COVID-19, the P.1 or Brazil variant, has been identified in Maryland. The variant’s presence in Maryland was confirmed by the Maryland Department of Health in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The variant is believed to be more transmissible than the initial strain of the virus, but it is not currently known whether the P.1 variant causes more severe illness than other common variants. It is expected that currently available diagnostic tests will be able to detect the P.1 variant.

February 16, 2021:

On February 15, 2021, Governor Hogan signed the bipartisan RELIEF Act of 2021, which delivers more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for struggling families and small businesses suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this legislation, certain unemployed Marylanders will not have to pay state and local income taxes on their unemployment benefits. In addition, the legislation provides tax relief and protections for small businesses against sudden or substantial increases in unemployment taxes. The legislation also provides for direct relief checks that will go out to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders in need.

On February 16, 2021, Governor Hogan submitted a $1.59 billion supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2022, including additional resources to support the safe reopening of schools. Some highlights of the supplemental budget include:

  • $931 million in funding for local school systems in support and targeted assistance for the safe reopening of public schools;
  • $434 million in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Pandemic EBT program; and
  • $128 million to support the state’s Child Care Scholarship program, including almost $60 million to help support licensed childcare providers recover from the impact of the pandemic.

February 15, 2021:

On February 11, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) launched a program to provide up to 1 million COVID-19 tests for both public and non-public schools. This will serve as an additional tool to support schools that are open, or plan to reopen, for in-person learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The state will provide both rapid antigen point-of-care and diagnostic testing supplies proportional to the number of students and staff returning for in-person learning, based on the anticipated number of students and staff that may need testing, using guidance from state health officials.

In the same announcement, Governor Hogan stated that the Maryland Department of Health will issue orders to allow limited visitation to resume at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes. Each hospital will set its own visitation policies, which must be in compliance with CDC guidelines. Indoor visitation at nursing homes will resume as early as March 1, provided facilities do not have active cases and follow proper testing protocols.

On February 12, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that licensed child care centers and registered family child care providers are eligible to apply for Child Care Pandemic Relief Fund grants to help meet increased operation costs. This funding is related to federal funding received through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to support childcare for children and families. Using the funding, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is establishing a $60 million grant program to help eligible childcare programs throughout the state meet operating costs and address lost revenue.

February 10, 2021:

On February 10, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that the state health insurance marketplace, Maryland Health Connection, will extend its current special enrollment period so that uninsured Marylanders have the opportunity to enroll in health coverage until May 15. Coverage enrollment dates and corresponding start dates are as follows:

  • Enroll by February 15 for coverage that starts on February 1.
  • Enroll February 16–March 15 for coverage that starts on March 1.
  • Enroll March 16–April 15 for coverage that starts on April 1.
  • Enroll April 16–May 15 for coverage that starts on May 1.

February 9, 2021:

On February 9, 2021, Governor Hogan provided a COVID-19 Vaccination Update, which stated that Maryland providers have now administered 727,828 COVID-19 vaccines, and 85% of all first doses received from the federal government have been given. The update also stated that Maryland’s first mass vaccination sites are now open at the Baltimore Convention Center and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County.

February 4, 2021:

On February 4, 2021, Governor Hogan announced that the State of Maryland’s first two COVID-19 mass vaccination sites would open at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore City. The Governor also announced that the M&T Bank Stadium mass vaccination site will open in mid-February and that mass vaccination sites in Western, Southern, and Eastern Maryland are being finalized. Each site will receive its own allocation of doses separate from what is already being allocated to providers.

February 3, 2021:

On February 3, Governor Hogan posted a COVID-19 Vaccination Update reporting that over 565,131 COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, and 70.4% of all first doses had been given. The average daily rate of shots administered is currently 21,936, which is a 64 percent increase over the last two weeks. In accordance with federal guidelines, Maryland is currently in Phase 1C of the vaccine distribution plan, including residents 65 and over, as well as critical workers in high-risk settings. While federal guidelines make 2 million Marylanders eligible, the state is only receiving 11,000 doses per day.

January 28, 2021:

On January 28, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland providers have now administered nearly 450,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, after reporting more than 30,000 doses administered on Wednesday. There are more than 100 active vaccination providers in Maryland, including hospitals, pharmacies, and local health departments.

On January 28, Governor Hogan issued an emergency order which lifts the requirement that bars and restaurants close after 10 p.m. The statewide order for 50% indoor capacity at restaurants remains in place.

January 25, 2021:

On January 21, Governor Hogan and the State Superintendent of Schools called for all Maryland school systems to return to hybrid instruction to include a combination of in-person and virtual learning, no later than March 1. State health officials have provided school systems with additional school reopening school guidance and educational design options based on scientific evidence, recent studies on the impact of school reopening on community transmission, and the effects of school closures on children and learning. State health officials recommend daily in-person learning for students with disabilities and special learning needs, phased daily in-person learning for elementary students, and hybrid learning for secondary students.

On January 25, Governor Hogan announced an additional $20.7 million in education relief funding for education as school systems work to get students safely back into classrooms. The funding includes $10 million in Competitive Innovation Grants, $7.4 million in Community College Workforce Development Programs, $2.6 million to independent colleges, and over $700,000 to schools for the blind and deaf.

January 21, 2021:

On January 21, Governor Hogan ordered a renewal of the State of Emergency due to COVID-19 which was initially implemented on March 5, 2020.

January 19, 2021:

On January 14, Governor Hogan announced the expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. On Monday, January 18, the State of Maryland will officially enter Phase 1B, which includes Maryland residents who are 75 years and older; Marylanders in assisted living, independent living, developmental disabilities or behavioral health group homes, and other congregate facilities; high-risk incarcerated individuals; continuity of government vaccinations; and education, including K-12 teachers, support staff, and childcare providers. On January 25, the state will enter Phase 1C, which includes Maryland residents ages 65 to 74; public health and safety workers not covered in Phase 1A; and essential workers in lab services, food and agriculture production, manufacturing, the U.S. Postal Service, public transit, and grocery stores.

On January 15, Governor Hogan announced $30 million in awards for more than 90 live music and performance venues, live entertainment promoters, and independently-owned local movie theaters whose operations have been impacted by COVID-19 as part of the second of three phases of economic relief awards administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. This is part of the more than $700 million in emergency economic relieve provided by the State of Maryland.

On January 18, Governor Hogan announced $34 million in awards for critical capital projects in the State of Maryland to improve infrastructure at colleges and universities and to support economic development across the state. This $34 million is comprised of the following projects: (1) $24.2 million for shovel-ready capital maintenance projects for the University System of Maryland ($21.2 million), Morgan State University ($2 million), and St. Mary’s College of Maryland ($1 million); (2) $6.8 million for facility renewal projects at the state’s 16 community college; and (3) $3 million to fund capital grants for shovel-ready projects through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund. These funds would become available immediately upon passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget by the legislature, which will be introduced this week.

January 14, 2021:

On January 14, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland is eligible for $402,439,000 in federal rental assistance through the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The majority of the funding will be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The funding can be used for rent, utilities, home energy costs, arrears, and other housing expenses resulting from the pandemic. The state must wait for the issuance of regulatory language from the federal government to deploy funding.

January 12, 2021:

On January 12, Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of Health confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Maryland residents caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 variant strain commonly known as B-117, the strain that originated in the United Kingdom in late 2020. The strain has not been shown to cause more severe illness or increased risk of death when compared to other strains. However, the strain has been shown to be more transmissible than other strains. Additionally, there is no evidence suggesting that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are less effective on the B-117 strain. Extensive contact tracing measures have been employed for both cases of the B-117 strain identified in Maryland, and there is currently no evidence of additional transmission of the strain.

January 6, 2021:

On January 5, Governor Hogan announced a series of actions to accelerate the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the State of Maryland. To date, Maryland has successfully allocated and deployed 270,150 doses of COVID-19 vaccines which represents 98.7% of all the doses that the federal government has allocated to the State of Maryland. According to official data from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the state has conducted 76,916 vaccinations, including a single-day record of 11,553 on Monday. The following are the initial steps announced by the Governor to accelerate the rate of vaccinations as safely and quickly as possible:

  1. NATIONAL GUARD EMERGENCY VACCINATION TEAMS. Beginning January 6, the Maryland National Guard will dispatch emergency support teams to assist local health departments with their vaccination clinics. Each of these teams will consist of 14 guard members who will assist with administering vaccines and providing logistical support.
  2. 700 VOLUNTEERS READY TO ASSIST WITH VACCINATIONS. Through the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, state health officials have already identified 700 qualified volunteers ready and willing to help with vaccine administration. MDH will share this information with local health officers to help them expand their clinics.
  3. EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR FASTER DATA REPORTING. Reporting lags are making it difficult for state health officials to receive an accurate picture of vaccine administration in the state. Governor Hogan has issued an executive order requiring all providers in the State of Maryland to report data to ImmuNet within 24 hours after vaccines are administered.
  4. MORE STATE RESOURCES FOR HOSPITALS. The governor has offered the Maryland Hospital Association all resources at the state’s disposal—including PPE, vaccinators, and logistical support—to speed the pace of vaccinations of critical hospital workers.
  5. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PROVIDERS WITH LOWER USAGE RATES. State health officials have issued an order, which states that any facility that has not administered at least 75% of their total first dose allocation may have their future allocations reduced until they can prove their ability to meet capacity. The same order also requires providers to, whenever possible, allocate excess doses to local health departments for priority populations.
  6. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES’ MODEL FOR ROLLING ALLOCATION. The state is adopting a rolling vaccine allocation model where we will not wait for all the members of a particular priority group to get vaccinated before moving on to the next group in line.

The Governor’s January 5 announcement also includes guidance on priority populations for vaccination. Phased administration to priority populations will be generally as follows:

  • Phase 1A is highest priority and includes all licensed, registered, and certified healthcare providers. Local health departments have begun to make arrangements with providers to get them vaccinated in the coming days and weeks. Vaccinations will also soon be underway for correctional officers, law enforcement agencies, and front line judiciary staff. Overall, Phase 1A includes more than 500,000 Marylanders.
  • Phase 1B includes Marylanders age 75 and older, special needs group homes, high-risk inmates, developmentally disabled populations, continuity of government vaccinations, as well as teachers, childcare, and education staff. The Maryland State Department of Education will immediately begin coordination with school systems to get their critical personnel vaccinated. Phase 1B includes an estimated 860,000 Marylanders. Based on the current pace of allocation, the state expects to fully enter Phase 1B by late January.
  • Phase 1C now includes all Marylanders ages 65-74, and workers in other critical sectors, including grocery stores, public transit, agriculture production, and manufacturing. Phase 1C includes an estimated 772,000 Marylanders. Based on the current pace of allocation, the state expects to fully enter Phase 1C by early March.
  • Phase 2 includes Marylanders ages 16-64 who are at increased risk of COVID-19 illness due to comorbidities, as well as essential workers in critical utilities and other sectors. Overall, Phase 2 includes an estimated 1.1 million Marylanders.

Also, on January 5, Governor Hogan issued an order requiring all vaccine providers in the State of Maryland to report data to ImmuNet within 24 hours after a vaccine is administered.

Lastly, on January 1, the Maryland Department of Health issued an order designating the types of personnel who may administer COVID-19 vaccines and the types of personnel who may prepare vaccines for administration. The order also provides that COVID-19 vaccines shall be administered to individuals according to Maryland’s prioritization requirements, as laid out and updated in its vaccine prioritization guidance or bulletins. Finally, the order states that any facility that has not administered at least 75% of their total first dose allocation may have their future allocations reduced until they can prove their ability to meet capacity. The same order also requires providers to, whenever possible, allocate excess doses to local health departments for priority populations.

January 5, 2021:

On January 5, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland’s Department of Labor has begun accepting claims and issuing payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) unemployment insurance programs extended by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act. If determined eligible for benefits, claimants will begin receiving payment this week. Since the system’s soft launch on Sunday, January 3, over 194,000 weekly claim certifications have been filed and over 34,000 claimants have reopened their claim. Approximately $43 million from the FPUC program, $25 million from the PUA program, and $11 million from the PEUC program have already been paid to claimants. For more information about unemployment insurance in Maryland, visit MDunemployment.com.

January 4, 2021:

On January 4, Governor Hogan announced a new special enrollment period in which all uninsured Maryland residents have the opportunity to enroll in health coverage now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent rise in the positivity rate throughout the state. The enrollment period begins immediately and runs until March 15. Health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, including private health plans and Medicaid, covers costs for coronavirus tests at doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, or emergency rooms. Marylanders can apply for coverage at marylandhealthconnection.gov.

December 29, 2020:

On December 23, Governor Hogan ordered an extension to the State of Emergency due to COVID-19.

December 21, 2020:

On December 17, Governor Hogan issued an order authorizing the Secretary of Health to issue orders requiring persons entering Maryland to quarantine and/or undergo testing for COVID-19 as the Secretary deems medically necessary and reasonable for the purpose of monitoring the spread of COVID-19. The order further provides that if the Secretary determines that doing so would not pose an unreasonable risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19, the Secretary may exempt one or more groups of persons from any such travel order.

On December 17, Governor Hogan issued an order affecting repossessions, foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The order suspends certain repossessions for any Chattel Home (which includes mobile homes, trailers, and boat houses) by self-help until the state of emergency is terminated and the catastrophic health emergency is rescinded. Under the order, residential and commercial evictions are suspended until the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency if tenants can demonstrate Substantial Loss of Income (as defined in the order). The order also suspends residential foreclosure sales for federal mortgage loans during the COVID-19 state of emergency unless the loan servicer has sent written notice to the borrower stating the borrower’s right to request a forbearance on the Federal Mortgage Loan under the CARES Act and the Servicer has complied with all of its obligations with respect to the Federal Mortgage Loan owed to the Borrower under the CARES Act and the Order. With respect to residential properties secured by non-federal mortgage loans, the order requires (among other things) that 30 days prior to sending a notice of foreclosure pursuant to RP 7-105.1(c), the Servicer has sent a written notice to Borrower that if the Borrower is experiencing a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 emergency, the Borrower may, for a period of 90 days after the date of such notice, request a forbearance on the Non-Federal Mortgage Loan, regardless of delinquency status, for a period of up to 180 days, which may be extended for an additional period of up to 180 days at the request of the Borrower (if such request is made during the initial 180 day forbearance period); provided that, at the Borrower’s request, either the initial or the extended period of forbearance may be shortened. If the Borrower requests such forbearance, the Servicer must provide the same without requiring the Borrower to provide additional documentation other than Borrower’s attestation to a financial hardship caused by COVID-19. Under the order, until January 31, 2021, the Commissioner of Financial Regulation will suspend operation of the Notice of Intent to Foreclose Electronic System and to discontinue acceptance of Notices of Intent to Foreclose.

November 30, 2020:

On November 25, Governor Hogan ordered a renewal of the Declaration of State of Emergency and Existence of Catastrophic Health Emergency due to COVID-19.

November 23, 2020:

On November 23, Governor Hogan announced that 17 Maryland local jurisdictions were awarded $19.3 million in Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grants, which will address the needs of more than 3,600 households across the state. In addition to this partnership with local governments, Governor Hogan also launched the Assisted Housing Relief Program, an eviction prevention program intended to help bring rental delinquencies current and provide real relief for tenants through direct payments to their eligible property management company. Tenants in eligible properties will be credited rent rebates paid directly to the property management company, which will eliminate their rental debt and the threat of eviction. The program serves rental units in multifamily projects financed by DHCD’s Community Development Administration using state funds or federal resources, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program where the unit rent is controlled.

November 18, 2020:

On November 16, Governor Hogan urged Maryland’s congressional delegation to deliver an additional COVID-19 stimulus relief package. His letter to legislators noted that the “fall surge of COVID-19 will continue to place enormous strain on both our healthcare system and our economy. On behalf of all Marylanders, I urge you to set aside partisan politics and prioritize a new stimulus relief bill in the lame duck session.” He noted that he would continue to do more on the state level, but that without an injection of federal stimulus relief from Washington, the situation for Maryland residents and small businesses may continue to deteriorate.

On November 16, Governor Hogan accepted a donation of 200,000 face shields from Maryland manufacturer Hardwire, LLC to the Maryland State Department of Education. The donation will be used to protect Maryland’s teachers, faculty members, and staff.

On November 17, Governor Hogan issued an emergency order that took the following actions: (i) ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, and venues serving food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for the purposes of carryout and delivery, (ii) limited capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities to 50%, and (iii) ordered that no fans be permitted at racetracks or professional and collegiate stadiums across the state.

On November 17, the Maryland Department of Health issued an emergency order to prohibit all hospital visitation until further notice with a few exceptions for end-of-life care, obstetrics, parents or guardians of minors, and support for people with disabilities. The order also allows hospitals that are either full or nearing capacity limits to transfer patients to hospitals that are equipped to provide them with the care they need. This will help alleviate the overcrowded hospitals in some areas of the state, and place patients in hospitals where beds are available.

On November 17, the Maryland Department of Health issued an amended directive and order providing that until further notice, indoor visitation at Maryland nursing homes will generally be limited to compassionate care, and all visitors must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their visit. The order also institutes mandatory twice-weekly testing for all staff at Maryland nursing homes, as well as mandatory weekly testing for all nursing home residents—effective no later than Friday, November 20.

November 11, 2020:

On November 10, Governor Hogan ordered that indoor dining capacity limits will be reduced from 75% down to 50% in light of rising COVID-19 cases. The governor also announced a mandatory return to remote working across state agencies except for essential direct public-facing services and other essential personnel.

On November 10, the Maryland Department of Health also published a public health advisory in light of rising COVID-19 cases. The advisory strongly discourages indoor gatherings of 25 people or more. The advisory also strongly advises against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100,000 citizens. The advisory notes that anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. The advisory also provides recommendations related to nursing homes, requesting that Marylanders take all precautions to protect their loved ones at nursing homes and assisted living programs including staying home if sick and getting tested before visiting, and reminding nursing homes and assisted living programs that indoor visitation is not permitted if the facility is currently conducting outbreak testing and in accordance with federal guidance on this subject.

Lastly, state health officials also issued an emergency order expanding hospital surge capacity on November 10. The order provides state EMS officials with the flexibility to shift patients to alternate care sites such as the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital, Laurel Hospital, and Adventist Takoma Park Hospital, and to add capacity at those sites if the need arises. It also requires hospitals to implement plans to stage and accept surge patients. All hospitals will be required to begin preparations to increase COVID-19 related operations by making sure they have enough beds and staff. Finally, the order makes additional infection control staff available from regional hospitals and other nursing homes to intervene and provide support through mutual aid agreements when outbreaks occur at any nursing homes.

November 9, 2020:

On November 5, Governor Hogan provided a detailed update on the state’s preparedness and urged Maryland residents to follow public health protocols. Per the update, the State of Maryland has created a long-term testing strategy and has strategically stockpiled test kits and supplies. Maryland has also built a robust contact tracing operation and has met and exceeded its hospital surge capacity goal. Governor Hogan emphasized that in the fall COVID-19 surge, collective efforts would continue to be crucial to recovery.

November 5, 2020:

Governor Hogan’s office announced that COVID-19 Relief Programs are now available for Maryland restaurants, artists, and entertainment venues as part of the $250 million economic recovery package for Marylanders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For restaurants, a new grant program is available whereby the state will distribute a total of $50 million across each county and Baltimore City based on the number of restaurant establishments located in each of the 24 jurisdictions. Restaurants interested in this new grant program must apply through their local jurisdiction, which are launching their own relief programs.

Anne Arundel County has previously announced that it will match the state’s investment in the restaurant relief program. For arts programs, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce, has received an additional $3 million to reinvest in its Emergency Grant Program, aimed at helping those in the arts community that have experienced losses because of programming, operations, and events that have been modified or canceled. New applications are being accepted until November 13 for impacted county arts agencies, Arts & Entertainment District management entities, arts organizations, and independent artists through the MSAC website. The program provides a variety of additional relief for hometown tourism efforts and main street and small businesses as well.

November 2, 2020:

On October 30, Governor Hogan issued an order renewing the State of Emergency in Maryland which has been in effect since March 5, 2020.

On November 2, Novavax, a clinical stage vaccine company that is currently developing a COVID-19 vaccine, announced plans to expand into a new R&D, manufacturing, and office facility in Montgomery County, Maryland. Novavax has committed to adding at least 400 local jobs by December 2024. The company expects to add the majority of these new positions by March 2021. To assist with project costs related to the expansion, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a $2 million conditional loan contingent on job creation and capital investment. In addition, the state has approved a $200,000 Partnership for Workforce Quality training grant, and the company is eligible for several tax credits, including the Job Creation Tax Credit and More Jobs for Marylanders.

October 22, 2020:

On October 22, Governor Hogan announced the $250 million ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative,’ which will provide funding from the Rainy Day Fund to directly assist restaurants, small businesses, local entertainment venues, arts organizations, and Main Streets across the state. The initiative doubles the state’s total commitment to COVID-19 emergency economic relief for Marylanders to $500 million. The governor’s initiative will provide a third installment of funding to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund, which awards grants of up to $10,000 to businesses of 50 or fewer employees. To date, the program has distributed more than 9,600 grants to small businesses across the state. This additional relief will clear the backlog of eligible applications and bring the program’s total funding to $145 million. The governor’s initiative will also provide direct grant relief to qualifying restaurants across the state. The funding will be allocated through local jurisdictions and must be distributed no later than December 31, 2020. The initiative also provides direct relief for hard hit businesses and local entertainment venues, expands the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, and expands small and minority business low-interest loans.

October 20, 2020:

On October 16, Governor Hogan announced the that outdoor sporting venues could open at 10% of total capacity, including M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field. The governor’s order limits occupancy to 10% for outdoor entertainment venues that have a total capacity greater than 2,500. The governor’s order requires face coverings at all outdoor sporting and entertainment venues. The health secretary issued a related order, which requires that venues must follow social distancing protocols, and social gatherings at the venue—such as tailgating—are prohibited.

On October 19, Governor Hogan announced a Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program. The program is a $10 million initiative to support Maryland farmers affected by the pandemic, and will offer direct assistance to contract poultry growers and a bonus payment to any farm operation that received funding through the first round of the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The new initiative will also offer a 15% bonus payment to any Maryland farmer who received federal funding through the first round of CFAP payments. CFAP provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline, or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Maryland distributed nearly $24 million through the first round of CFAP payments and has distributed more than $16 million in the second round of the program.

On October 20, Governor Hogan announced Maryland’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, which was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control last week. The plan focuses on two major phases of vaccine availability and distribution. Phase 1 will focus on priority, high-risk groups to receive vaccination, and Phase 2 will have wide-scale vaccine availability for the general population. Additionally, vaccine supply is expected to rapidly increase once distribution begins, alleviating the need to limit vaccine administration.

October 8, 2020:

On October 8, Governor Hogan and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced that $11.7 million in general funds will be allocated to the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) to provide legal services to families facing eviction and other housing security issues in a continued effort to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. MLSC makes grants to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services for low-income Marylanders.

October 7, 2020:

On October 6, Governor Hogan ordered an extension of Maryland’s state of emergency. The order also allows for the use of voting centers for the election during the pandemic and parameters for which they can be used.

October 5, 2020:

On October 1, Governor Hogan announced that indoor visitation may resume at Maryland nursing homes where no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 14 days or more, along with greater flexibility for compassionate care visits, and an additional $6 million specifically for testing nursing home staff. The governor was joined by State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon, who announced the expansion of childcare in Maryland to full teacher to child ratios and capacities. As part of this transition, state health officials are implementing new testing guidelines, expanding the use of rapid antigen tests at nursing homes, which could be used to screen visitors—while continuing to require regular diagnostic testing depending on local conditions. The state will commit an additional $6 million to help facilities cover the cost of nursing home staff testing.

September 29, 2020:

On September 29, Governor Hogan ordered that, subject to all other applicable law, regulations, and guidance issued by the Secretary of State, notaries public in Maryland may perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual with respect to a will or a trust. The order, effective immediately, remains effective until the termination of the state of emergency due to COVID-19.

September 28, 2020:

On September 28, Governor Hogan, in an update to his September 18 order, ordered a number of changes to Phase II reopening standards. The order, effective immediately, requires that the number of spectators permitted in a Racing Facility at any one time shall not exceed the lesser of (a) 50% of that Racing Facility’s maximum occupancy, or (b) 250 persons.

On September 28, Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation is extending the deadline to apply for 2020 Homeowners’ and Renters’ Property Tax Credits from October 1 to October 31 in an effort to “ensure more [Maryland] citizens can remain safe and secure in their homes”.

September 24, 2020:

On September 24, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland’s COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to a record-low of 2.57%, the state’s lowest case rate since July 11. The positivity rate for Marylanders under 35 is below 35% for the first time. Also, Maryland weekly unemployment claims are at their lowest since March 11. Governor Hogan also announced the return of fall sports for local school systems. Each local school system will now have the ability to officially start the interscholastic athletic fall season in secondary schools beginning on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

September 22, 2020:

On September 18, Governor Hogan ordered further relaxation of COVID-19 related restrictions, effective immediately. Under the order, outdoor public spaces such as parks and beaches can open after consultation with the county health officer and subject to required compliance with CDC health directives. Religious facilities and retail establishments and restaurants are allowed to open at 75% capacity. Manufacturing businesses and facilities, outdoor recreation facilities (such as golf courses) may open. Personal services establishments (such as beauty salons), indoor recreation facilities (such as bowling alleys and skating rinks), gaming facilities (such as casinos) and fitness centers may open at 50% capacity. The order states that all senior citizen activity centers shall remain closed and continues to require that all Maryland citizens over five years old wear a mask in public areas.

September 21, 2020:

On September 20, Governor Hogan announced new milestones in the fight against COVID -19. The statewide seven-day positivity rate dropped below 3% for the first time, and the daily positivity rate dropped below 2% for the first time. Hospitalizations have dropped below 300 and ICU levels have dropped below 70, down to their lowest levels since March.

On September 21, Governor Hogan announced a COVID-19 Serology Testing Study for Maryland Firefighters which will give health officials a better idea of the prevalence of the virus. This initiative, currently active in seven jurisdictions, is a key part of the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) ongoing statewide COVID-19 antibody study to determine how many Marylanders have been exposed to COVID-19. Participants receive serology testing and diagnostic kits, sample collection supplies, logistical services to deliver supplies and pick up samples, and sample collection training. The test consists of a blood draw to produce samples, which are sent to the State Public Health Laboratory for analysis. The lab processes the samples and provides results, typically within 24 hours.

September 14, 2020:

On September 10, Governor Hogan announced the acquisition of 250,000 rapid point-of-care antigen tests, which will be deployed to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and correctional and juvenile detention centers across the state. The purchase is makes Maryland the first state in a bipartisan interstate testing compact to move forward with ordering rapid antigen tests. Nearly all of the ten states participating in the compact – the first of its kind during the COVID-19 pandemic –have signed letters of commitment for the purchase of the rapid tests.

September 10, 2020:

On September 10, Governor Hogan announced the acquisition of 250,000 rapid point-of-care antigen tests, which will be deployed to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and correctional and juvenile detention centers across the state. The purchase makes Maryland the first state in a bipartisan interstate testing compact to move forward with ordering rapid antigen tests. Nearly all of the ten states participating in the compact – the first of its kind during the COVID-19 pandemic –have signed letters of commitment for the purchase of the rapid tests.

September 9, 2020:

On September 9, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions can begin applying for $16 million in Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grants, which will help support local rental assistance programs across the state. Through the Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is awarding federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding across local jurisdictions in Maryland to prevent evictions. Applications are due October 2. Governor Hogan also launched the Assisted Housing Relief Program, an eviction prevention program intended to help bring rental delinquencies current by providing rent rebates paid directly to the property management company. The program serves rental units in multifamily projects financed by DHCD’s Community Development Administration using state funds or federal resources, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program where the unit rent is controlled. The program remains open for applications.

September 8, 2020:

On September 8, Governor Hogan issued a renewal of the State of Emergency due to COVID-19. The Order, effective immediately, provides that the State Board of Elections may establish alternate voting centers for the General Election. It also provides that the applicable COVID-19 Guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control should be complied with to the maximum extent practicable in preparation for the General Election.

September 3, 2020:

On September 1, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland will enter Stage Three of COVID-19 Recovery, and issued a corresponding Order Amending and Restating its August 3, 2020 order Allowing Reopening of Certain Businesses and Facilities, Subject to Local Regulation, and Generally Requiring Use of Face Coverings. The proclamation, effective immediately authorized the Secretary of Health to issue directives under the Order to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, including prohibitions on congregating in groups. It provides that outdoor public spaces (such as parks and playgrounds) may be opened to the general public subject to certain requirements to consult with a local health officer. The order provides that religious facilities, retail establishments, and malls may open at 75% capacity of maximum occupancy (an increase from the previous 50%). A full list of businesses allowed to reopen, and the various restrictions applicable to such businesses can be found in the order. All such reopenings are subject to the discretion of local jurisdictions, which may opt out. The order also provides that all persons in Maryland over the age of 5 must wear a face covering when in public transportation, indoors in a public location (such as a religious facility or restaurant), outdoors and unable to maintain 6’ of social distance, obtaining healthcare services, or engaged in work in public areas or in food preparation or packaging.

On August 27, Governor Hogan announced that every County school system is fully authorized to begin safely reopening pursuant to guidance and benchmarks issued by the Maryland Department of Health in collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education.

Governor Hogan also previously issued a Renewal of Declaration of State of Emergency due to COVID-19 on Monday, August 10, 2020. The proclamation, effective immediately, renewed the original State of Emergency dated March 5, 2020. The proclamation also provides that in preparation for and execution of the General Election, the applicable COVID-19 guidance published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health must be complied with to the maximum extent possible. The Order also provides for additional voting centers for the November 3 General Election.

August 19, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced in a press release on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 that Maryland has submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Administration (FEMA) for a grant to provide an additional $300 per week for unemployed Maryland citizens. After the application is reviewed and approved, funds are expected to be distributed beginning in late September. Those eligible will qualify for a retroactive benefit of an additional $300 per week beginning August 1, 2020 and ending December 26, 2020. Upon approval, FEMA will fund the $300 per week and Maryland will provide the 25% state funding match already paid to claimants collecting regular unemployment insurance benefits.

August 3, 2020:

Governor Hogan issued a Renewal of Declaration of State of Emergency due to COVID-19 on Thursday, July 30, 2020. The proclamation, effective immediately, renewed the original State of Emergency dated March 5, 2020. The Governor also issued a new order Friday, July 31, effective immediately, preventing the termination of residential services like water, cable, and internet. This order is an amended and reinstated version of the June 29 order, and remains in effect until the state of emergency is terminated or until September 1, 2020.

July 30, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced an expanded statewide mask order and an out-of-state travel advisory during a press conference on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

The new mask order goes into effect Friday, July 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and requires all Marylanders over the age of 5 to wear a face covering in:

  • public transportation
  • indoor public spaces
  • while obtaining healthcare services
  • while at work if in a shared office space
  • while at work where food is prepared or packaged
  • outdoors when it is not possible to social distance.

There are a few exceptions given in the order, including: individuals with certain disabilities and medical conditions, while eating, drinking, swimming, and when receiving treatments required to access the face, like dental care.

The new travel advisory issued strongly advises individuals to adhere to the public health guidelines. This is not mandatory. Specifically, the travel advisory encourages Marylanders and out-of-state visitors to be tested promptly upon arrival to Maryland or within 72 hours prior to arrival and to self-quarantine until hearing results. The advisory also states any Maryland citizens traveling to a state with a positivity rate above 10% should get tested and remain self-quarantined until the results are received. D.C. and Virginia are exempt from this recommendation. Essential workers returning to Maryland from performing essential work are exempt from the quarantine recommendation.

July 28, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced that 223 businesses have been approved to participate in the Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program in a press release on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.The program provides employers with an alternative to layoffs by allowing employees to be retained at reduced hours. Employers can temporarily and equally reduce hours by 20% to 50%. The employees affected are eligible to collect partial unemployment benefits to help compensate for a portion of the lost wages due to reduced hours. Employers wanting to participate in the program can apply on the program information page.

July 27, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced two new programs being deployed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) during a press conference on Friday, July 24, 2020.The press release includes details related to applicant eligibility for those who can apply for the Assisted Housing Relief Program. The program was established to help delinquent tenants affected by COVID-19 to become current on rent payments. The DHCD is also implementing an Eviction Prevention Partnership, providing grant funding to all 24 local jurisdictions in Maryland to prevent evictions. The Order from March 16, 2020 to prevent evictions is still in place. The District Court of Maryland has delayed hearing eviction cases until August 31st.

July 23, 2020:

Governor Hogan provided an update to the state's ongoing response to COVID-19 on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.The press release mainly covered details related to schools reopening in the fall, but the Governor also reiterated the importance of following public health guidelines, safer at home guidelines, and minimizing out-of-state travel. Additionally, the Governor continued to put pressure on local efforts to actively enforce the current public health guidelines, especially in bars and restaurants.

July 13, 2020:

Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland has surpassed more than 800,000 COVID-19 tests, including a record 21,140 tests over the last 24 hours, as the state’s key health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction.

July 8, 2020:

Governor Larry Hogan directed the Maryland State Board of Elections to follow existing state law and to conduct the November general election with enhanced voting options in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these enhancements include: promoting early voting, absentee voting by mail, and voting at off-peak times.

July 6, 2020:

Baltimore County is the 11th jurisdiction to meet Maryland’s statewide goal of testing 10% of their population. Governor Larry Hogan is pleased to see more county leaders in Maryland doing their part by expanding testing efforts at the local level.

June 30, 2020:

Governor Larry Hogan has extended the expiration date on his executive order banning utility companies from shutting off services or charging late fees.

The executive order applies to companies providing electric, gas, sewage disposal, water, phone, cable or internet service.

June 17, 2020:

With the rest of Maryland already in Phase 2 of reopening, the D.C. suburb of Montgomery county has announced it will enter Phase 2 at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. 

June 11, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in Maryland. Starting at 5pm on Friday, June 12th, indoor restaurants may open with limited capacity and social distancing requirements. In addition, starting June 19th, indoor fitness centers, gyms, spas, and similar studios can reopen at 50% capacity. On that date, casinos, arcades, and malls can also reopen with certain measures in place. However, all of these reopenings are subject to the discretion of local jurisdictions, which may opt out. The Governor formally issued an order confirming the same, which can be accessed here.

June 3, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced that the state will enter Phase Two of reopening at 5:00 p.m. eastern time on Friday. As happened with Phase One, cities and counties will have the option to opt out and keep stricter measures in place. Prince George’s County and Montgomery County have already opted out of entering Phase 2 at this time. This stage will include the reopening of many, but not all, nonessential businesses, albeit with varying levels of restrictions. A full list of what businesses are allowed to reopen, and the various restrictions remaining in place, can be found in the Governor’s order here.

May 28, 2020:

Prince George’s County officials stated today that the county will lift its stay-at-home order on June 1, the D.C. suburb’s first step in its gradual reopening. Similarly, Montgomery County will also begin its phased reopening on June 1. In both counties, curbside pickup will be allowed for non-essential retail stores, and outdoor dining will be permitted at restaurants.

May 27, 2020:

Unlike most of the region, Maryland’s Montgomery County, its most populous jurisdiction, will remain under a stay-at-home order. County officials said they are not ready to begin reopening on Friday, but may move toward reopening to Phase One next week. Similarly, Prince George’s County has also stated that it does not intend to lift its stay-at-home order on Friday.

May 15, 2020:

Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland will begin Stage One of its plan to reopen, Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, which will be effective at 5:00pm on Friday May 15, 2020. Stage One of the Roadmap to Recovery is a flexible, community-based approach to reopening that moves from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home advisory. County leaders are empowered to decide the timing of implementing Stage One.

For Husch Blackwell’s in-depth review of Maryland’s safe reopen procedures, click here.

May 14, 2020:

On May 13, Governor Hogan announced he is lifting the statewide stay-at-home order, replacing it with a “safer at home” policy that relaxes a number of restrictions, effective 5pm on Friday, May 15. Some nonessential retailers will be allowed to reopen, including clothing and shoe stores, carwashes, and bookstores. However, they must remain at maximum 50% capacity, and employees must wear masks, in addition to other social distancing requirements. Barber shops and hair salons may reopen by appointment only, and manufacturers may resume operations.

Many restrictions remain in place, including limits on gatherings of more than 10 people, and for nonessential businesses not included in this Phase. Additionally, the policy allows an opt-out for localities, and some counties, notably the D.C. suburbs, have already decided it’s too early to enter Phase One.

May 13, 2020:

Governor Hogan is expected to announce tonight details on the state’s plans to reopen. According to several news outlets, the Governor will allow Washington suburbs and other hard-hit areas to opt out of the gradual reopening if they desire. We plan to provide a more complete update on Maryland’s plans following these announcements.

May 6, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced today the first easing of the state’s stay-at-home order. Mainly, certain elective surgeries will now be permitted, and additional outdoor activities such as golf will be allowed for residents. Nonetheless, the steps outlined fall far short of the first phase of his reopening plan, and a date has still not been suggested for lifting the state’s stay-at-home order.

April 30, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced new actions to curb outbreaks in nursing homes and poultry processing facilities. With respect to poultry processing plants, the Governor activated a multi-state, multi-agency operation to address outbreaks, dispatching epidemiologists to the affected areas to focus on testing support, contact tracing, occupational health, communications and outreach. For nursing homes, the Governor issued a new order which, among other items, includes daily evaluation of residents and universal testing for residents and staff. Separately, the Governor stated at a press conference that he’s waiting for hospitalizations to plateau before announcing a date to reopen the state. Last, the Governor issued an executive order prohibiting creditors and debt collectors from issuing garnishments, liens, or set-offs for federal funds distributed to residents under the CARES Act.

April 26, 2020:

During a Friday afternoon press conference, Governor Hogan announced a three-phased plan to reopen the Maryland economy. He said the stay-at-home order can be lifted once the virus’ spread is under control, and the state’s public health system is strong enough to handle any future spikes in cases. This would include: expanded testing capacity; increased hospital surge capacity; ramping up supply of PPE; and robust contact tracing operation. He said he’s hopeful the reopening process can begin in early May. Still, the first phase of reopening is quite limited in reach, and the Governor expected different conditions in Maryland at least until a vaccine is developed. Governor Hogan has also created a panel of experts to help advise on the reopening process, with industry-specific advisory groups.

April 15, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced an executive order requiring the use of masks or face coverings when inside retail establishments or riding any form of public transportation, which includes taxis and ride shares. The order will also require staff at retail locations to wear face coverings and put certain social distancing measures into practice “in good faith and to the extent possible”. The order goes into effect at 7:00 a.m. on April 18 with respect to the face covering requirements.

March 31, 2020:

Governor Hogan implemented a statewide stay-at-home order, which builds on the previous order which had closed non-essential businesses in the state. The stay-at-home element goes into effect at 8:00 p.m. on March 30th, and it allows for exceptions such as obtaining groceries and other supplies, seeking medical assistance, caring for others, and exercising. Gatherings larger than 10 persons remain prohibited, and non-essential businesses must remain closed. The order says non-essential businesses are those which are not part of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. However, the previous order was later accompanied by guidance, and such guidance is possible here, and if issued, will be included in a further update.

March 27, 2020:

After the Governor’s request, the state received a Major Disaster declaration from the federal government. Maryland will be eligible for reimbursement for the Emergency Protective Measures taken by state and local government agencies and certain non-profit groups under its Public Assistance program under the Robert T. Stafford Act.

March 26, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced that school closures will be extended another four weeks until April 24, which he attributed to the state’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

March 19, 2020:

Governor Hogan amends the existing order on social gatherings, moving the limit to groups of 10 people. In additional to restaurants and bars, the following remain closed: fitness centers and gyms, theaters, malls, bingo and pool halls, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and roller and ice skating rinks. The state also clarified that convenience stores need not close. The state also announced that no one should use public transportation except emergency personnel, health-care workers, or those whose jobs are essential to the supply chain. The Governor also asked the University of Maryland system to keep students off campus and finish the spring semester online. Finally, the Governor announced that Maryland has received official designation from the SBA for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 17, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced that vehicle emissions testing in the state will cease, and that eventually these facilities will be turned into drive-through testing stations. Additionally, tolling stations statewide will be changed to cashless, and the Governor issued a proclamation that postpones April 28th primary elections until June 2nd, with a plan to move forward with the 7th District congressional general election by implementing a vote-by-mail system. Finally, the state issued interpretive guidance for shopping malls, food courts, food trucks, funerals, private clubs, barber shops, hair salons, and spas.

March 16, 2020:

The Governor issued an emergency order which closed all of the state’s casinos, betting facilities, and racetracks. The Governor also ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants (which can still provide drive-through, take-out, and delivery services) and prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people. Examples of banned gatherings include social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings. The order also prohibits utility shutoff for electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies for any residential customer’s service, and prohibits charging any residential late fees. Maryland courts were also prohibited form ordering the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19. Finally, the Governor issued an omnibus healthcare order which Increases hospital bed capacity, activates the state’s medical reserve corps; establishes policies and procedures for rationing, distributing and stockpiling resources received from the Strategic National Stockpile, allows interstate reciprocity of practice for any individual that holds a valid health care license, allows for inactive clinicians to practice without first reinstating their inactive license; and allows for actions to control, restrict, and regulate the use of health care facilities in responding to a catastrophic health emergency.

March 12, 2020:

Governor Hogan announced that all public schools are closed through March 27th, and activated the National Guard. Additionally, all non-essential state employees who are approved for telework are required to telework. 

March 11, 2020:

Governor Hogan enacted several additional state actions including for long term care communities, veterans’ facilities, and health insurance. The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange established a special enrollment period for COVID-19. For long term care communities, staff are prohibited from international travel, assess is limited to essential visits only, and facilities are recommended to screen all individuals entering. The state’s veterans’ facilities are required to follow the same guidelines for long-term care facilities.

March 7, 2020:

The Governor Hogan signed emergency legislation allowing the state to access rainy day funds, and formed a Coronavirus Response Team to advise on health and emergency management decisions.

March 5, 2020:

Governor Hogan declared a state of emergency. The declaration allows Maryland to coordinate and request emergency resources and support in response to COVID-19. A state of emergency allows the Governor to access certain resources in order to increase the state’s response.

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