Maryland state and local government offices to close Friday for Juneteenth

Maryland state government offices and many local government agencies will be closed Friday to observe the new Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The announcement comes after the U.S Congress passed a law this week designating June 19 as a federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law Thursday afternoon.


Whenever a federal holiday falls on a Saturday — as the first national Juneteenth holiday will this weekend — the state of Maryland observes it on a Friday.

“Maryland is proud to support this legislation, and observe this new national holiday,” said Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, in a statement.


Under state law, Hogan already was required to issue a proclamation for Juneteenth, but the state was not required to close offices or give state employees a day off.

Many local governments will be closed as well for the holiday, including Baltimore City. Some local governments already had declared Juneteenth a holiday, including Anne Arundel County and Howard County.

Howard County announced that while offices will be closed Friday, recycling and trash collection will go forward.

Baltimore County also will close offices but will collect trash and recycling at the curbside and at drop-off centers, as well as offer coronavirus tests and vaccinations and operate parking garages and parking meters as usual.

Anne Arundel County’s government offices will be closed, along with the county landfill and recycling centers. But trash and recycling pickup will operate on a normal schedule Friday.

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Harford County government’s offices will be open Friday, according to a spokesperson, although County Executive Barry Glassman plans to close for Juneteenth next year.

”There wasn’t enough time to notify the general public and those who had business planned with the county that we would be closed,” Cindy Mumby, a spokesperson for the administration, said Thursday afternoon.

Maryland courts will be closed Friday, though court commissioners’ offices will be open.


Following the abolition of slavery in the United States, it took time for word to travel to people who were enslaved and for them to be freed. Juneteenth marks when the news finally reached people who were enslaved in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 — two months after Confederate soldiers surrendered in the Civil War and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Even before becoming an official government-sanctioned holiday, Juneteenth has been celebrated for years. Events are planned throughout Maryland this weekend, including a community celebration in Reservoir Hill, a music festival in East Towson and a parade in Annapolis.

Before Congress acted, Maryland lawmakers considered making Juneteenth a state holiday. A bill creating the holiday passed the Maryland House of Delegates, 112-24 in March. All 24 votes against came from Republicans. The Juneteenth bill did not receive a vote in the state Senate.

Baltimore Sun Media editor Wayne Carter contributed to this article.