A Message from Maryland Department of Commerce – Determining Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses

MD Department of Commerce

As of March 23, Governor Hogan has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, including all establishments and facilities that are not part of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. To see Homeland Security’s list of what is considered an essential business, click here. For more information, review our legal interpretive guidance located here and here.

As referenced in the latest interpretive guidance, if a business is still unsure if it is essential or non-essential, it should:

  1. First, carefully review the Order, all available guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and all Interpretive Guidance issued by OLC (linked above) to confirm that the business, organization, or facility is not addressed in some way.
  2. Second, if “non-essential” status is still unclear, make a good faith determination about whether it is “non-essential”, based on:
  3. the Order’s purpose, which is to “reduce the threat to human health caused by the transmission of the novel coronavirus in Maryland, and to protect and save lives”; and
  4. how similar businesses, organizations, and facilities are treated under the Order.
  5. Third, if the business, organization, or facility decides to remain open pending more detailed legal advice, strictly adhere to all applicable guidance from the CDC, MDH, and OSHA regarding social-distancing and environmental cleaning and disinfection.

If you are a business that is permitted to operate, you are required to follow healthy protocols such as social distancing and effective cleaning and disinfection. You can find more guidance from the CDC by clicking here.

I know this is a difficult and frustrating time, but we are still here to support our businesses. For additional information, including health protocols, financial assistance, unemployment insurance, and more, check our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses webpage for the latest information and guidance. This site will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. It includes an FAQ that will also be updated regularly.

Thank you,

Maryland Department of Commerce

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