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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the MSBA has been monitoring the various Executive Orders, Administrative Orders, and local directives – and their impact on our profession –  through our partnership with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and our relationships with the Governor’s Office and the Judiciary. We have continued to track information and provide updates to the legal community as information changes rapidly. 

From monitoring discussion groups and social media posts, the MSBA has become aware that there is a fair amount of confusion within the legal community concerning reopening the state, distinctions amongst Maryland counties and their reopening approaches, and the impact of these Orders and directives to the legal profession and the courts. Neither the Governor’s Order nor the various local Orders from Maryland counties impacts the operation of Maryland courts, which are governed by the Administrative Orders and emergency powers of Chief Judge Barbera, as well as directives and Orders from administrative judges. 

This afternoon, we bring you the latest on reopening of the state and the various approaches from Maryland counties. We will continue to update this information as we learn more.  

I. Governor Hogan’s Order Rescinding Stay-at-Home vs. Local Authority to Proceed with More Restrictive Orders

Governor’s Executive Order 20-05-13-01 (May 13, 2020)  https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Gatherings-SIXTH-AMENDED-5.13.20.pdf allows for local governments to retain or adopt local orders more stringent than the Governors Order, if the local authorities deem such measures necessary to preserve the health and safety of the county

The Governor’s Order contains provisions at Paragraph I (d) and (e) which state

I. d. If a political subdivision determines that doing so is necessary and reasonable to save lives or prevent exposure to COVID-19, the political subdivision is hereby authorized to issue orders that are more restrictive than this Order (“Local Orders”):

  1. requiring any businesses, organizations, establishments, or facilities to close or modify their operations; and/or
  2. requiring individuals to remain indoors or to refrain from congregating.

e. Local Orders may remain in effect for so long as this Order (as it may be amended from time to time) remains in effect. The authority granted by paragraph I.d is in addition to, not in derogation of, any authority of a political subdivision under its charter, laws, ordinances, or regulations.”

Here is the latest information available on local government intentions relative to the Governor’s Order, which ushers in Phase 1 of the reopening of the State (courtesy of the Maryland Association of Counties):

https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2020/05/15/marylands-reopening-status-by-county/

II. Maryland’s Reopening Status, By County

Governor Hogan’s Stay-At-Home order will be lifted at 5:00 PM today, but local decisions on reopening vary across the state.

Governor Hogan announced Wednesday, May 13, that the statewide stay-at-home order would be lifted on May 15 at 5:00 PM, and replaced by a safer-at-home advisory. The advisory eases some restrictions on businesses and gatherings. His statement allows for local leaders to make their own decisions on a timeline for reopening, acknowledging that the severity of the pandemic varies widely across the state.

Here’s a breakdown of where Maryland counties currently stand:

Allegany County: No official statement has been released.

Anne Arundel County: Anne Arundel Announces Modified Reopening Plan

Baltimore City: City will remain under stay-at-home order until further notice, restrictions on retail, personal services, and religious services to remain in place.

Baltimore County: Modified Reopening

Calvert County: Calvert has extended their local state of emergency, but will reopen with phase one of State plan.

Caroline County: Moves Forward with Stage One of Recovery of Maryland Plan.

Carroll County: Carroll to move forward with Stage One of Recovery Plan.

Cecil County: Cecil County to take a phased approach, that tracks Governor Hogan’s plan.

Charles County: Charles County will extend stay-at-home order until May 29, will begin phased approach after that date.

Dorchester County: No official statement has been released.

Frederick County: County will take a slower, phased approach to reopening.

Garrett County: Garrett County to move ahead with State’s reopening, rescinds ban on vacation rentals

Harford County: Harford County plans to reopen with State’s order.

Howard County: County Executive Ball announces limited reopening.

Kent County: No official statement has been released.

Montgomery County: Stay-At-Home Order extended

Prince George’s County: County Executive Angela Alsobrooks extends stay-at-home order until June 1.

Queen Anne’s County: To begin stage one at 5:00 PM today.

St. Mary’s County: Will move forward with Coronavirus Recovery Plan.

Somerset County: No official statement has been released.

Talbot County: Talbot will reopen following Governor’s guidelines

Washington County: Washington County to follow Stage One of Governor’s Plan, according to their website.

Wicomico County: Wicomico County will open in accordance with Phase 1.

Worcester County: No statement has been released at this time.

The MSBA will update the status of the various jurisdictions and communicate this information widely as new information becomes available.