Maryland Orders Closure of Non-Essential Business To The Public


Today, Governor Hogan announced an Executive Order, Number 20-03-23-01, closing all non-essential businesses to the general public at 5 p.m. today.  Although this is not a “shelter-in-place” directive, Marylanders are urged to stay home. This directive does close retail establishments that were previously permitted to remain open under earlier executive orders.

The Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel has issued interpretive guidance regarding which businesses are essential, including the following:

a.  The Chemical Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Chemical manufacturers.
  • Distributors of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

b.  The Commercial Facilities Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Building and property maintenance companies, including without limitation plumbers, electricians, HVAC service companies, roofers, environmental services companies, exterminators, arborists, and landscapers.
  • Janitorial firms.
  • Companies that sell supplies and materials for maintenance of commercial and residential buildings, including “big box” home improvement supply stores, plumbing distributors, electrical distributors, and HVAC distributors.
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry services.
  • Commercial and residential construction companies.
  • Self-storage facilities.

c.  The Communications Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Broadcasting companies and stations.
  • Cable TV companies.
  • Telephone (cellular and landline) companies.
  • Internet service providers.

d.  The Critical Manufacturing Sector includes, but is not limited to, manufacturing of:

  • Steel, iron, and aluminum products.
  • Engines, motors, turbines, generators, and power transmission equipment.
  • Earth-moving, mining, agricultural, and construction equipment.
  • Parts for water, electric, and telecommunications utility infrastructure.
  • Land, air, and water vehicles, and related parts.
  • Medical equipment.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Cleaning and sanitation equipment and supplies.

e.  The Defense Industrial Base Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Companies that research, develop, manufacture, or integrate weapons, defense, or intelligence systems or assets.
  • Private contractors that support defense and intelligence agencies.

f. The Emergency Services Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Law enforcement.
  • Emergency medical services.
  • Emergency management.
  • Fire and rescue services.
  • Private ambulance companies.

g.  The Energy Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Companies engaged in electricity production (excluding hydroelectric and nuclear, which are included in other sectors).
  • Companies engaged in the production, refining, storage, transportation, distribution, and sale of oil, gas, and propane products, including gas stations and truck stops.
  • Companies that provide utility maintenance services.

h.  The Financial Services Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Banks and credit unions.
  • Non-bank lenders.
  • Payroll processing companies.
  • Payment processing companies.
  • Armored car companies.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Securities and investment companies.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping firms.

i.  The Food and Agriculture Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Grocery stores.
  • Farmer’s markets.
  • Convenience stores.
  • Alcoholic beverage stores and distributors, distilleries, and wineries.
  • Institutional food service and supply companies.
  • Food manufacturing and processing.
  • Pet supply stores.
  • Veterinary hospitals, clinics, and kennels.
  • Companies that manufacture, maintain, and sell agricultural equipment.
  • Companies that manufacture, or support the manufacturing of paper products.

j.  The Government Facilities Sector also encompasses private persons and entities that support the judicial system including, but not limited to:

  • Lawyers and law firms.
  • Court reporters.
  • Bail bondsmen.

k.  The Healthcare and Public Health Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Healthcare systems and clinics.
  • Offices of health care providers, including physicians, dentists, and pharmacists.
  • Physical, occupation, and speech therapists.
  • Behavioral health facilities and professionals, including psychologists, mental health counselors, and substance abuse counselors.
  • Rehabilitation facilities.
  • Diagnostic facilities, including radiology, imaging, and laboratory facilities.
  • Health plans, payors, and billing companies.
  • Funeral homes and crematoriums.
  • Senior living facilities, including independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing.
  • Manufacturers and distributors of medical equipment and supplies.
  • Medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries.
  • Home health care companies.

l.  The Information Technology Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Companies that design, develop, distribute, host, sell, and support information technology software and hardware.
  • Companies that provide network routing, access, and configuration services.

m.  The Transportation Systems Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Airlines and operators of commercial aircraft (manned and unmanned).
  • Airports, air strips, heliports, and seaplane bases.
  • Motor carriers.
  • Carriers of marine freight, including ocean carriers and inland carriers.
  • Marine, rail, truck, and intermodal terminals, and operators thereof.
  • Stevedores, longshoremen, baggage handlers, and others who handle cargo at transportation hubs.
  • Courier, package delivery, mail service, and mail management companies.
  • Warehousing and distribution companies.
  • Pipeline owners, operators and maintenance companies.
  • Lessors of transportation assets, including railcars and truck trailers.
  • Companies that supply parts, or provide maintenance and repair services for transportation assets and infrastructure, including aircraft, marine vessels, locomotives, rail cars, trucks, buses, cars, heavy equipment, roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, air strips, marine terminals, railroads.
  • Automotive supply stores and repair shops.

n.  The Water and Wastewater Systems Sector includes, but is not limited to:

  • Municipal, community, and other drinking water and wastewater systems and facilities.
  • Well drillers.
  • Companies that provide maintenance and inspection services for water and wastewater assets, including treatment works, residential water treatment systems, piping, pumps, tanks, drains, conveyances, and monitoring systems.
  • Water testing companies.

o.  Supporting Firms. The federal critical infrastructure sectors include firms providing the following to any other business, organization, or facility included in the federal critical infrastructure sectors:

  • Staffing and/or payroll services.
  • Essential raw materials, products, or services.

The Interpretive Guidance is a “non-exhaustive” list, and expressly refers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s March 19 Memorandum on essential infrastructure workers for further guidance. The Memorandum is available here:

Previous Executive Orders closed casinos, racetracks, simulcast betting facilities, enclosed malls, the dine-in operations of restaurants, certain recreational establishments, and certain retail businesses.

If you are unclear on whether your business would be deemed essential, please contact any Shawe Rosenthal attorney.

In addition, employers with essential operations should immediately prepare letters on Company letterhead to issue to employees to carry with them as they travel to and from work if they are stopped by the authorities questioning why they are traveling. This employer letter should outline the employer’s operations and the basis for the exemption.