By Bryan Renbaum
March 23, 2020
Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he has issued an executive order to close all non-essential businesses in Maryland by 5 p.m. on March 23 in order to control the spread of the coronavirus. Hogan said he made the decision because many Marylanders are not adhering to social-distancing practices required under previous executive orders.
“In addition to those businesses which have already been closed by our prior executive orders, this new executive order closes all those businesses not covered by federal guidelines which were issued March 19 by the federal government as defined as critical infrastructure sectors — including health care and food and agriculture, energy, public works, community-based government operations — and the defense and industrial base sectors — law enforcement, public safety, transportation, critical manufacturing, financial services, and water and waste-water.”
Hogan, who is chair of the National Governors Association, said the federal government has been helpful in some areas but not others.
Hogan said the state is taking action to help small businesses.
“We’re immediately launching a $175 million comprehensive business relief program here in Maryland. This will bring together resources from two of our key state agencies: the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Labor-to help hard-pressed Marylanders and small businesses-help them get through this difficult period.”
Hogan announced that the state is launching three funds to assist small businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus:
- The COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund will provide an additional $7 million “to help small businesses retain their employees during this crisis,” Hogan said.
- The Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund will provide $75 million in loans of up to $50,000 to for-profit businesses with fewer than 50 employees that have lost revenue due to the virus.
- The Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund has $50 million for “direct immediate grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that have lost revenue because of the coronavirus,” the governor said.
Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz said the state must take action to help small businesses before it is too late.
Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee — a coalition of business leaders in the city — called the governor’s decision to close non-essential businesses “an unfortunate but necessary move to help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
“Hopefully, by imposing these steps along with the public’s strict adherence to the current restrictions on activities and by closely following the advice of health care providers, the closures will be as short-lived as possible and businesses will be able to reopen and return to regular operations,” Fry said in a statement.
To read the full story, visit Maryland Reporter’s website.
- Governor Hogan’s Interpretive Guidance memo
- Governor Hogan’s Supplemental COVID-19 Interpretive Guidance memo
Source: Maryland Reporter