UPDATE: Governor Hogan announced that the entire state of Maryland has received designation for SBA assistance. Small businesses can apply here.
Maryland’s COVID-19 Business Response
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. State agencies including the Department of Commerce remain prepared to serve our clients in the business community.
These unprecedented measures may feel extreme or frightening, but they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and save the lives of Marylanders.
Maryland is still “Open for Business.”
View an ongoing list of frequently asked questions here for Maryland businesses planning and responding to the Coronavirus.
Business Closures & Restrictions During COVID-19
- Closure of all Entertainment Venues and Enclosed Shopping Malls – This includes bowling alleys, amusement parks, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks, and other venues, and is in addition to the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers that was previously announced. Businesses which provide drive-through, carry-out, and food delivery services may continue to do so. Read about specific closures in the executive order.
- Carry-out and Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages – Businesses that serve alcohol are now permitted to provide carry-out and delivery of alcoholic beverages. Read the executive order.
- Restricted Gatherings of More than 10 People – Social, community, religious, recreation, 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.
- Businesses Not Mentioned in Executive Orders for Business Closure
- If you are not a business that was specifically mentioned in the executive orders regarding business closures, you are still permitted to operate, but are required to follow health protocols such as social distancing. If you remain open, it is critical that you do everything in your power to prevent groups of 10 or more people from congregating in one area.
- Please use your best judgement and consider the possible impact on your employees and customers if you stay open. Public utility, such as the need to provide food or essential supplies, must be balanced with the need to preserve public health. Find business advice from the CDC.
- The Governor’s Office, Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and several state agencies are continuing to look at every industry and make determinations about essential services. We will update this webpage as we have more information.
- Restricted Use of Public Transportation – No one should use public transit such as MARC, Amtrak, Metro, or bus services except emergency personnel, front-line health-care workers, or those whose jobs are essential to the supply chain. There are significant reductions in MARC train, 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.
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 – Ensuring 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 – Will allow 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.
Resources for Business
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.
Financial Assistance & Taxes
- President Donald Trump announced 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 announced on March 19 that the entire state of Maryland has received official designation for SBA assistance. Individual businesses can now apply directly to the SBA for low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Visit SBA’s website to apply now.
- General SBA guidance for businesses can be found here.
- 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 returns – including sales and use tax, alcohol tax, etc. – and income tax extensions.
- 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.
- 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.
- The federal tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15 – learn more.
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. 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 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.
- 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 our Bulk Claims Services Frequently Asked Questions page. If a business is eligible, they should contact a Claims Representative by emailing UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov. For additional 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
Looking for a way to help? Please visit the new Maryland Unites website to find volunteer and donation opportunities.
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.