On March 30, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan ordered Maryland residents to “stay at home” as part of Maryland’s ongoing response to COVID-19. The order becomes effective March 30, 2020, at 8 p.m. EST and remains in effect until further notice. Governor Hogan announced that the order is in response to the people of Maryland ignoring his prior orders and directives for the past three weeks, endangering themselves and others. “We are no longer asking or suggesting that Maryland residents stay home – we are directing them to do so,” Hogan stated. The March 30, 2020, order amends and restates a prior March 23, 2020, order prohibiting large gatherings and events, and closing senior centers and all nonessential businesses and other establishments.

The order requires all persons living in the state of Maryland to stay in their homes or places of residences, except to participate in essential activities, as defined below, or to conduct essential business.Under the order, essential activities means:

  • Obtaining necessary supplies or services for oneself, one’s family, household members, pets, or livestock, including groceries; supplies for household consumption or use; supplies and equipment needed to work from home; laundry; and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence;
  • Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of oneself, family, household members, pets, or livestock, including medical services and obtaining medication or medical supplies;
  • Caring for a family member, friend, pet, or livestock in another household or location, including transport of the above for essential health and safety activities or to obtain necessary supplies or services;
  • Traveling to and from an educational institution for purposes of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning;
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running, or biking;
  • Traveling as required by a law enforcement officer or court order; or
  • Traveling to and from a federal, state, or local government building for a necessary purpose.

Earlier this month, Governor Hogan ordered all nonessential businesses to close. Maryland adopted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s definition of nonessential businesses, which can be found here. However, staff and owners may continue to be on-site at nonessential businesses for certain “minimal operations” (for example, facilitating remote work and performing essential administrative functions). Governor Hogan further instructed that essential businesses that remain open must make every effort to scale down operations to limit in-person interactions and institute telework as much as practicable.

Any person who violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

If you have questions on the requirements of the order or other questions with respect to your workforce related to COVID-19, please contact Reed Smith’s Labor & Employment COVID-19 Task Force, rsCoronavirusEmploymentTeam@ReedSmith.com.