Alerts and Updates

Maryland Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Hospitals and Other Indoor Establishments

November 18, 2020

Local governments maintain the authority to retain limitations that are stricter than those in place statewide.

On November 17, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced new measures in response to the recent uptick in statewide COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. The governor issued an executive order imposing capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars and other indoor establishments. The Maryland Department of Health also issued a series of orders restricting visitation at hospitals and nursing homes. The statewide orders carry the force of law and violations are punishable by fines up to $5,000 and up to one year in prison.

Local governments maintain the authority to retain limitations that are stricter than those in place statewide. Marylanders should therefore consult county-specific resources for continued updates.

Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Courts and Other Establishments

As of 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday, November 20, 2020, the following additional restrictions will take effect:

Bars and Restaurants

All bars, restaurants and facilities where food and/or alcohol are served must close between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Takeout and delivery services may continue during such hours. In addition, indoor operations at bars and restaurants continue to be limited to 50 percent capacity for seated and distanced service only, pursuant to the governor’s announcement on November 10.

Retail and Religious Institutions

All retail businesses and religious institutions statewide will revert to the Stage Two 50 percent capacity restrictions. These restrictions apply to the following, without limitation: retail businesses; casinos; organizations; religious institutions; personal services establishments; bingo halls; bowling alleys; pool halls; skating rinks; fitness centers; and social clubs.

Stadiums and Race Tracks

Fans are not permitted at any professional or collegiate stadiums or race tracks.

Previous Restrictions

Other existing statewide restrictions remain in place including but not limited to the following:

Courts

As of November 16, 2020, Maryland Courts returned to Phase III of the Maryland judiciary’s reopening plan. During Phase III, Maryland courts will hear specific case types remotely or in person, but jury trials will not be held until the judiciary reenters Phase V of the reopening plan.

Mask Mandate

Marylanders continue to be required to wear face coverings under certain circumstances, including on public transportation, indoors at any location where members of the public are generally permitted, in shared areas of commercial offices and outdoors when it is not possible to maintain proper distancing.

Restrictions on Visitation at Hospitals and Nursing Homes

The Maryland Department of Health orders impose the following restrictions on hospitals and nursing homes:

Hospital Visitation

Hospital visitation is prohibited statewide until further notice, except for compassionate care visits, parents or guardians of minor patients, obstetrics and support for patients with disabilities.

Nursing Home Visitation

Nursing home visitation is restricted statewide until further notice, with indoor visitation generally limited to compassionate care visits. Any permitted visitors must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within the 72 hours prior to the visit. In addition, the order requires twice-weekly testing for all staff at nursing homes and mandatory weekly testing for all nursing home residents.

Elective Procedures

Hospitals are encouraged to, if possible, avoid any elective procedure admissions that are not urgent or life-saving.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Robert B. Hopkins, Robert L. Ruben, Carla N. Murphy, Allison M. Midei, any of the attorneys in our Baltimore office, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.