What’s open and closed during Maryland’s nonessential business shutdown?

To further slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as more confirmed cases surface in the state, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan enacted a “stay-at-home” executive order Monday.

The order means residents can only leave their home for essential work or urgent medical care, to get food or prescriptions or for other “absolutely necessary” reasons. The latest executive order doesn’t change much for Marylanders, other than prodding them to stay home, because a week ago, Hogan closed all nonessential businesses, organizations, services and gatherings


Speaking at a morning news conference outside the State House in Annapolis, Hogan said his decision largely stemmed from the possibility that the disease could spread to “literally thousands” of facilities in Maryland, including hospitals, detention centers and nursing homes. Before Monday, measures taken by Hogan were mostly due to reports of large crowds and workers continuing to assemble, despite the repeating warnings from state and federal officials.

While closing nonessential businesses entails a foreboding sense of economic decline, Hogan previously said the coronavirus required swift, decisive and unprecedented action to safeguard lives and keep the masses from overwhelming the health care system at once.


Here’s some guidance from Hogan’s office on what qualifies as an essential service.

Child care

As of Monday, only day cares that have received approval from the state to care for solely the children of essential workers can remain open.

Food stores, liquor stores, bars and restaurants

Grocery stores, farmer’s markets, liquor stores and convenience stores are not included in the executive order. Meanwhile, restaurants, distilleries and wineries must close, but can offer carryout and delivery services. Farms, food manufacturing plants, pet supply stores, and companies that handle agricultural equipment can remain open.

Pharmaceuticals and chemicals

Manufacturers and distributors of chemicals and pharmaceuticals are considered essentials and are not required to close.

Lodging, laundromats, maintenance and construction

Apartments and property maintenance companies such as HVAC service workers, roofers, janitorial firms, home improvement stores, plumbers, electrical and environmental service companies are not included in the executive order. This category of essential services also applies to laundromats and dry cleaners, commercial and residential companies and self-storage facilities.

TV, radio, internet

Communications services such as newspapers, television and radio stations, broadcasting companies, telephone companies and internet service providers are not required to shut down per this executive order.


The manufacturing of critical supplies — including, but not limited to — steel, iron, aluminum, engines, generators, medical equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies, water, air, mining and land qualifies as an essential service.


The executive order does not encompass companies that research, develop or provide weapons or intelligence. This includes private contractors.


Emergency services

Personnel such as law enforcement officers, health care workers, emergency management workers, fire and rescue and ambulance companies remain operational.


Providers of electricity, oil, gas and propane are not included in the executive order. This includes utility maintenance services.

Banks, insurance and accountants

Providers of financial service remain operational per the executive order, which includes banks and credit unions, lenders, payroll and payment processors, armored car companies, insurance firms, securities and investment companies and accountants and bookkeepers.

Government facilities

Court reporters, bail bondsmen lawyers and law firms can continue to work. Any federal, state or local government building and facility will stay open.

Health care and public health

In addition to hospitals, private health care offices, such as those belonging to physical, occupational speech and behavioral therapists can remain open. Dentists, rehabilitation facilities, laboratories and diagnostic facilities also qualify as essential services.

This category also extends to health billing companies, senior living facilities, home aids, pharmacies, funeral homes and crematoriums as well as clinics, medical equipment suppliers and medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries.


Information technology

Companies that provide network routing and access remain open, as well as firms that design, develop, host and distribute information technology software and hardware.


Airlines, airports, heliports, railroads, trucking, courier and postal services qualify as essential per the executive order. Warehousing, marine freight companies, motor carriers, auto stores and repair shops, pipeline owners and operators, and longshoremen can also continue working.

Water and waste

Water and wastewater systems, companies and facilities remain operational. Companies that provide maintenance and inspection services for water and wastewater can also remain open, per the executive order.


Organizations and facilities like homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks are deemed an “essential service" for low-income people, according to the executive order.


Outdoor services such as golf courses and driving ranges are closed. State parks, however, remain open.