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Am I Essential? A Guide to Maryland's Latest COVID-19 Order

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Today, Governor Hogan issued an executive order closing all non-essential businesses in Maryland in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order, which goes into effect at 5pm today, explicitly states that it is not a Shelter-in-Place Order -- Maryland residents are still free to go outside. However, the Order does strongly encourage residents to stay indoors, and employers to promote teleworking as much as possible. The Order outlines 14 essential "federal critical infrastructure sectors" that are not required to close under the Order: 

  • The Chemical Sector
  • The Commercial Facilities Sector
  • The Communications Sector
  • The Critical Industrial Base Sector
  • The Emergency Services Sector
  • The Energy Sector
  • The Financial Services Sector
  • The Food and Agriculture Sector
  • The Government Facilities Sector (including lawyers and law firms)
  • The Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • The Information Technology Sector
  • The Transportation Systems Sector
  • The Water and Wastewater Systems Sector
  • Firms providing support to essential businesses

Examples of non-essential businesses include barber shops, beauty salons, gyms, and entertainment venues. Employers should consult the Order's Interpretive Guide (found here) to determine if their business is "essential." It is important to note that the list of Sectors provided in the Order is not exhaustive. If your business does not neatly fall into one of the categories listed in the Order, you should consult with an attorney regarding compliance with the Order. 

If you have any questions related to the Governor Hogan's Order, or any other aspect of employment law, contact Thatcher Law Firm at 301-441-1400. 

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