News

Maryland Governor and Montgomery County Executive Impose New Covid Restrictions on Many Local Businesses

Author: Date: 11/11/2020

Categories: Corporate and Business Law, Covid-19 News and Resources, Real Estate Law

Woman in a storefront window hangs up a sign that says "we're open! Keep your distance" to represent businesses open with COVID restrictions in place. Effective November 10, Governor Hogan, by Executive Order, has imposed or restored certain Covid restrictions against the ability of Maryland businesses to fully operate.  The Governor’s Order also allows counties to impose more restrictive regulations: Montgomery County did just that by imposing a more restrictive regulation (also effective November 10).

Both Orders primarily limit business operations based on local maximum occupancy limits. Both Orders also require certain businesses to implement specific safety procedures for customers and require face coverings, social distancing, and other commonly recommended virus prevention techniques. 

If you think your ability to open for business is affected by the newest Governor or County Executive Orders, our commercial leasing and other real estate attorneys can help you interpret the new regulations, discuss occupancy limits with local officials, and provide you with guidance for opening in compliance with law. 

Our attorneys also help both commercial Tenants and Landlords interpret their leases to determine their rights and obligations, and advise Tenants and Landlords during negotiations and re-negotiation. 

In Montgomery County:

Restaurants and social clubs may operate indoors only at 25% capacity. Contact tracing for diners must be followed and hours of operation limits apply to these businesses. Mall food courts remain prohibited, except for carry-out. Fitness centers, martial arts, dance studios, and bowling alleys, are also subject to 25% maximum occupancy.

General retail businesses, as well as beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, estheticians, tanning salons, and other similar businesses, are limited to the lesser of 25% occupancy, or one person per 200 square feet.

Religious facilities are limited to the lesser of 25% occupancy or the total square footage of the building divided by 50. Religious facilities also face a laundry-list of specific regulations governing things like the use of pews, social distancing, and screenings.

Throughout the State of Maryland

Indoor restaurants, fitness centers, beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, estheticians, tanning salons, indoor recreational facilities including bowling alleys, social clubs, and any business subject to the State’s amusement tax, may open only at 50% of maximum occupancy.

The Governor’s Order also puts a host of other restrictions and limitations on the manner in which indoor restaurants may operate, as well as how to legally operate outdoor and drive-up/drive-thru service.

Retail Establishments and Religious Facilities are also subject to 50% capacity requirements, provided that reasonable measures are taken to implement safety guidance standards as applicable to the specific establishment.

At both the State and County level, outdoor recreational facilities (e.g., golf courses, archery and shooting ranges, campgrounds, etc.), as well as manufacturing operations, are generally unaffected by the newest revised Orders.

This is not an exhaustive list, and how the Governor and County Executive Orders may affect your business can greatly depend on your specific use and occupancy permits, as well as your specific premises.

If you need advice on the limits of re-opening for your business in Maryland, please call Peter E. Ciferri, Esq. at (240) 778-2307 or e-mail pciferri@mcmillanmetro.com for a consultation.

This Article was last updated November 19, 2020. Please consult with an attorney for guidance on subsequent revisions to applicable law and regulations.