It remains unclear to what extent local jurisdictions will impose new, more restrictive measures than those in place statewide.
On March 9, 2021, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a new executive order and announced that the state will lift many of its COVID-19-related restrictions on businesses and travel. These eased restrictions will likely remain subject to more restrictive local rules and orders in some jurisdictions, although local leaders are still evaluating their authority in that regard. The state’s masking mandate and other advisories will remain in place.
Specifically, effective Friday, March 12, at 5:00 p.m.:
- Capacity limits lifted. Capacity limits will be lifted on outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants and bars, retail businesses, religious facilities, fitness centers, personal services establishments and indoor recreational establishments, including casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks. Bars and restaurants will be open for seated and distanced service only.
- 50 percent capacity limits on large outdoor and indoor venues. Large outdoor and indoor venues, including theaters, concert, convention and wedding venues, racing facilities and outdoor entertainment and sporting venues (including Pimlico and Camden Yards), may begin operating at 50 percent capacity.
- Medical adult day care centers to reopen. Medical adult day care centers may reopen. Facilities are able to set appropriate restrictions and safety measures.
- Quarantine requirements lifted. All quarantine requirements and other restrictions on out-of-state travel will be lifted. Marylanders continue to be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 upon their return from out-of-state travel.
Other restrictions and guidance remain in place. Specifically:
- Statewide masking order. Maryland’s statewide masking order remains in full force and effect, and requires the wearing of face coverings at any indoor public facility, in the public spaces of all public and private businesses across the state, when using public transportation and in all outdoor public areas when it is impossible to maintain physical distancing.
- Telework continues to be encouraged. The state continues to encourage employers to support telework whenever possible.
Local Leaders Retain Authority to Take Action More Restrictive Than Statewide Rules
Although Governor Hogan’s prior executive orders expressly authorized local jurisdictions to issue orders that were more restrictive than those in place statewide, the March 9 executive order states that orders issued pursuant to such prior authorizations shall become null and void as of March 12. Both Governor Hogan and his spokesperson have verbally clarified that local jurisdictions should likely be able to put in place new orders that are more restrictive than state orders.
It remains unclear to what extent local jurisdictions will impose new, more restrictive measures than those in place statewide. Some local leaders have confirmed that they are in the process of assessing their authority under state law and proper next steps for their respective counties. For example, local leaders in Baltimore city and Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties have stated that they are reviewing the new executive order and assessing whether they will follow the statewide eased restrictions. Officials in Carroll and Harford counties have stated that they plan to ease restrictions to the same degree as the state.
Marylanders should therefore continue to consult county-specific resources for continued updates.
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