Hogan issues guidance for businesses, gatherings that must close under executive order

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Photo by Martin Falbisoner, via Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Larry Hogan’s Office of Legal Counsel issued guidance Tuesday detailing how certain businesses and gathering places fit into recent executive orders the governor enacted to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, Hogan prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered all bars, restaurants, gyms and theaters to close. Eateries can still offer carryout and curbside pickup under Hogan’s order.

Shopping malls are not required to close, but any type of business within the mall that has been ordered to close–such as bars, restaurants, gyms and theaters–must comply, according to the legal guidance.

Although food courts are not required to close, the stalls in them must only offer carryout. The guidance said food court owners and operators should restrict access to seating areas or remove tables and chairs altogether to prevent people from eating on the premises.

The order does not require food trucks to stop operating, but they should not do a joint event that could draw a crowd, the guidance said.

The order does apply to dining and bar areas at private clubs, such as American Legion and VFW posts, Elks clubs, yacht clubs and country clubs. Those organizations should close their dining and bar areas, and they should cancel events where attendance is expected to be greater than 50 people, according to the guidance.

Funerals are allowed under the order, but no more than 50 people may gather. Funeral directors should also adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration regarding social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, the guidance said.

Barber shops, hair salons and spas that provide one-on-one services, such as massages, are not required to close under the order. Like funerals, however, these businesses should follow guidance from federal and state officials.

As the Maryland Emergency Management Agency noted on Twitter, all businesses not mentioned in the guidance “are not required to close at this time.”

The agency advised businesses that remain open to implement social distancing and other public health practices recommended by government officials.

Marcus Dieterle

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