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  • Governor Hogan's COVID-19 Pandemic Executive Order Interpretive Guidance

    Updated 9/21/2020


  • Governor Hogan Announces Expanded Capacity for Indoor Dining, Marks Beginning of Maryland Restaurant Week

    Indoor Dining Capacity Increased from 50% to 75%
    Governor Visits Downtown Annapolis, Encourages Marylanders to Support Local Eateries September 18-27

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today marked the beginning of the state’s first-ever Maryland Restaurant Week by announcing expanded capacity for indoor dining.

    Effective Monday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m., capacity for indoor operations at restaurants may increase from 50 to 75 percent, with appropriate distancing, and following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association. Read the governor’s order.

    Earlier in the day, the governor visited McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar in Annapolis to present a proclamation recognizing Friday, September 18 through Sunday, September 27 as Maryland Restaurant Week. The governor spent time in several Annapolis Recovery Zones, where restaurants, bars, and shops have adopted creative solutions to get safely back to business. 

    “As we continue with the third and final stage of our recovery, I want to commend our state’s restaurant industry for their incredible resilience this year and for their continued commitment to the health and safety of Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “To celebrate the first-ever Maryland Restaurant Week, I encourage Marylanders to support their favorite local businesses, whether you do so through delivery, curbside pickup, or by dining indoors or outside.”

    While local jurisdictions have observed individual restaurant weeks over the past decade, this is the very first statewide observance. There are no entry fees or course requirements, and restaurants may offer special menus, discounts, or other promotions. The Maryland Office of Tourism has contributed $50,000 in sponsorship to support the marketing efforts of the Restaurant Association of Maryland. 

    According to statistics announced today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state’s Leisure and Hospitality sector experienced the most job growth in August with an increase of 5,800 jobs—4,000 of which belong to Accommodation and Food Services. Starting in May, when Governor Hogan announced Phase One of recovery and the safe resumption of outdoor dining, Leisure and Hospitality has added 65,900 jobs, 53,400 of which belong to Accommodation and Food Services. Overall, the state has gained 183,200 jobs during the recovery.

    As with Stages One and Two, Stage Three continues to be implemented in multiple phases with a flexible, community-based approach where individual jurisdictions make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

    Posted 9/21/2020


  • County Reopening Information 

    From the Garrett County Government Communications Office:

    Governor Hogan has proceeded to ease restrictions dealing with the COVID -19 State of Emergency, on a statewide basis but has reserved the right for local jurisdictions to modify his actions, if circumstances warrant.
    In Garrett County, we have utilized the Governor's guidance and have, to this point, fared better than most jurisdictions in the State. It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners of Garrett County to continue to follow the Governor's directives.
    As a result, until or unless the Health Officer for Garrett County directs otherwise, Garrett County will proceed with openings in accordance with Governor Hogan's present “Stage 3” reopening. Additional information can be found on the Governor's website at https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery/
    As the Governor announces phased openings or, as he eases restrictions related to the COVID -19 State of Emergency, those actions will apply in Garrett County unless the Garrett County Health Officer directs otherwise.

    Posted 9/2/2020


  • Governor Hogan Announces Beginning of Stage Three of Maryland’s COVID-19 Recovery, Additional Safe and Gradual Reopenings

    Movie Theaters, Live Entertainment Venues Permitted to Reopen, Capacity Increased From 50% to 75% at Retail Shops and Religious Services
    Stage Three Will Continue Flexible, Community-Based Approach; Jurisdictions to Decide Timing of Reopenings
    Maryland Collaborates with Apple and Google on Launching State-of-the-Art Exposure Notification Tool

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that, based on the state’s improving health metrics, Maryland will begin to move into Stage Three of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ with additional safe and gradual reopenings. As with Stages One and Two, Stage Three will be implemented in multiple phases with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.
    “As we move into this third and final stage of our recovery, I want to sincerely thank our doctors, nurses, and public health officials, our small business community, and, most importantly, the people of Maryland who have pulled together over the last five months to respond to this unprecedented challenge with incredible courage and perseverance,” said Governor Hogan. “It is thanks to all of you that we have crushed the curve and saved lives, and that our state response to this global pandemic continues to serve as an example for the rest of the nation.”
    As part of the state’s initial entry into Stage Three, Governor Hogan announced the following additional safe and gradual reopenings:
    INDOOR THEATERS. Indoor theaters where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
    OUTDOOR VENUES. Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
    RETAIL AND RELIGIOUS FACILITIES. Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.
    MARYLAND PARTNERS WITH APPLE AND GOOGLE ON EXPOSURE NOTIFICATIONS EXPRESS. The governor announced today, in collaboration with Apple and Google, that Maryland will be one of the first states to deploy a new exposure notification tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Exposure Notifications Express is designed to help public health officials more quickly and easily provide notifications for their residents about potential COVID-19 exposure and guide them on recommended actions. This new technology will be optional for users.
    SCHOOLS. The governor thanked the State Board of Education for voting to require those school systems that have not developed a plan for returning any students for any in person instruction until 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter. Last week, the governor announced that, as a result of improved COVID-19 health metrics, every county school system in Maryland is authorized to begin safely reopening, but made clear that the legal authority and final decision making on safe openings rests with county boards of education. Guidance to support the safe reopening of schools can be found here.
    YOUTH SPORTS. The governor reiterated that while counties may issue more restrictive rules, state health officials issued an order on June 12 allowing all youth sports gatherings and events to begin resuming. “County governments of course, by law, do have the power to be more restrictive, but it is the position of the State of Maryland that our young people should have the opportunity to play sports this fall, and we are encouraging local health officials to reassess their guidelines,” said Governor Hogan.
    ELECTIONS. The governor noted that, as of today, and after asking them to immediately do so nearly eight weeks ago, the State Board of Elections has mailed out ballot applications to every Maryland voter. Marylanders are strongly encouraged to take advantage of voting by absentee ballot or to participate in early voting. Those who choose to vote in-person on Election Day are encouraged to do so at off-peak times to avoid long lines and crowds.
    Additionally, through the recruiting efforts of the Hogan administration, more than 11,000 Marylanders have signed up to serve as election judges. The governor continues to urge local election boards to immediately contact and train these election judges and poll workers.
    Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery for more information about the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’
    Posted 9/2/2020



  • GCPS Superintendent Barbara Baker and GCHD Health Officer Bob Stephens Release Joint Letter to Community

    Letter from Superintendent and GCHD Health Officer:
    August 30, 2020

    Dear GCPS Families,

    We are writing to provide you with more information specific to the reopening of Garrett County Public Schools’ facilities in light of the announcements made late Thursday afternoon by Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon and Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan.
    Throughout the many weeks that we have been formulating our reopening plan, school system and Garrett County Health Department officials have been in contact on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. The sole purpose of the ongoing conversations is to ensure a safe return to in-person learning for all students and staff. We have previously announced plans to bring small groups of students back into buildings in a systematic and careful manner. We have also said repeatedly that we will adjust the schedule and move more quickly if it is safe to do so.

    The metrics announced at Thursday’s news conference are important to understand. To even consider a “green” in-person learning model for all, a jurisdiction must have a positivity rate under 5 percent on a rolling seven-day average. If that is the case, the county can proceed to the second metric. Currently, every jurisdiction in the state meets this threshold. The second metric involves new cases per 100,000 residents per day (incidence rate) for a rolling seven-day period. If a jurisdiction has an incidence rate of less than 5 per 100,000 over a seven-day average, that jurisdiction may open for expanded in-person learning. However, if a jurisdiction has an incidence rate of more than 5 per 100,000 over a seven-day average, that jurisdiction may only consider opening for hybrid learning.

    As of the date of this letter, Garrett County’s 7-day positivity rate is .5% and the case rate is 1%. This means that the school system could return to in-person learning if the decision is based solely on the metrics. However, there are many logistical issues that need to be addressed before the school system can return to full in-person learning. We must transport students to & from school and educate students in classrooms while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines provided by the Governor on Thursday. Furthermore, if there is a sudden increase in either the case rate or positivity rate throughout the county, a discussion between local health and education officials will be necessary to determine if changes are needed to prevent the spread of the virus. Similar discussions will need to occur if a school has a positive case. By proceeding slowly with the plan currently in place, we hope to avoid having to close schools or the entire system shortly after our return.

    We fully recognize that there are many parents who want their students back in school buildings full-time as quickly as possible. So do we, and we are tirelessly working toward that end so that we can resume our in-person instructional program. As previously stated, the current plan is designed to use a virtual platform in order to keep every student and employee of the Garrett County Public School system healthy and safe.

    As we move forward in these trying times, it is critical that we all work together to ensure our students receive the best education available in the safest way possible. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we move forward to that end.

    Barbara L. Baker 
    GCPS Superintendent 

    Robert Stephens, MS
    Garrett County Health Officer

    Posted 8/31/2020


  • Garrett County Chamber Phase 4 COVID-19 Response Legislation Recommendations - July 2020

    Congress is currently considering the next phase of coronavirus legislation.  The House Democrats version is referred to as the Heroes Act and the Senate Republican’s version is now called the HEALS Act. There was even mentioned the name of CARES 2 at one time.

    Heroes is a $3 trillion bill and HEALS is a $1 trillion bill. Both parties are very far apart at this point.

    We sent a letter on Monday with the following recommendations. Some of what we support will hopefully be included including updates to the PPP program and making 501 C 6 organizations eligible to apply for PPP. They should reach an agreement by this weekend.

    You can read the Garrett County Chamber Phase 4 COVID-19 Recommendations by clicking here. 

    Posted 7/29/2020

  • Governor Hogan Presses Local Leaders to Enforce Public Health Requirements In Bars and Restaurants

    State Health Officials Have Connected An Increasing Number of COVID-19 Cases to Non-Compliance
    Local Leaders Must Enforce Physical Distancing and Capacity Restrictions at Bars and Restaurants
    Penalties Should Include Fines, Actions Against Licenses, and Closure
    Positivity Rate Among Younger Marylanders Continues to Rise

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today directed local leaders to step up enforcement of public health requirements in bars and restaurants across the state. State health officials have connected an increasing number of COVID-19 cases to non-compliance with face covering and physical distancing rules.
    “The vast majority of bars and restaurants in our state are in compliance, but some are flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health,” said Governor Hogan. “You have the responsibility to enforce these laws. Violators should be warned, fined, have actions taken regarding their licenses, or closed if necessary. Local health departments, local liquor boards and inspectors, and local law enforcement agencies must work together to ensure public health is protected.”
    As of today, the positivity rate among Marylanders under 35 is now 84% higher than it is for Marylanders 35 and over. 
    Bars and restaurants are open for seated service only with physical distancing and capacity restrictions. Customers must be seated at least six feet apart from other guests. Standing and congregating in bar areas is strictly prohibited. 
    All staff must wear a face covering while working and interacting with customers. 
    For facilities with booths, every other booth must be closed. 
    No more than six people may sit at a table. 
    In recent weeks, at least 12 other states have moved to re-close bars and restaurants statewide or in targeted localities following COVID-19 spikes and outbreaks.
    “Our continued economic health and recovery depend on the active and aggressive local compliance and enforcement of these critical public health measures,” continued the governor. “We cannot allow a small segment of willful violators to squander the collective efforts of the overwhelming majority of Maryland citizens and businesses.”
    The state continues working to further increase the convenience and accessibility of COVID-19 resources and testing. Learn more about COVID-19 in Maryland, or make a plan to get tested at one of more than 220 testing sites, by visiting coronavirus.maryland.gov
    Posted 7/14/2020



  • Additional Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Available in Garrett County

    The Garrett County Health Department, operating in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and other state and local partners, is offering drive-thru testing without the need for an appointment or a doctor’s order at Deep Creek Lake on Friday, July 3.
    The event will be held at the Garrett County Fairgrounds at 270 Mosser Road in McHenry from 8 am to 12 noon. Entrance and exit to the event will be from Mosser Road. Please follow the signs and watch for traffic personnel for direction. Please be prepared for a short wait time depending on how many persons take advantage of this event.
    Testing will be done while persons are sitting in their cars. There will be no cost for this nasopharyngeal swab test that may detect a current COVID-19 infection. Persons with positive results will be called directly, while negative results will be sent to the person’s mailing address. Staff anticipates that test results will take 3-4 days.
    Local partners for this event include Garrett County Public Schools, Mountain Laurel Medical Center, Garrett Regional Medical Center, County Government, and Maryland State Highway Administration.
    The Health Department is also holding an additional testing opportunity on Friday, July 17, from 7:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot between the Health Department and the Mountain Laurel Medical Center at 1025 Memorial Drive in Oakland.
    These events are for persons who do not have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their doctor to be tested at the hospital outpatient laboratory or other clinical laboratory. Persons that are interested in an antibody test for COVID-19 should also contact their health care provider.

    Posted 7/1/2020


  • Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing Opportunities Announced for Persons without Symptoms 

    The Garrett County Health Department will be offering two “Drive-Thru” COVID-19 testing opportunities for persons without symptoms at two locations in the coming weeks.
    The first drive-thru testing opportunity will be held at Northern Middle School at 371 Pride Parkway in Accident on Friday, June 26. The hours will be held rain or shine from 7:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Testing will be done while persons are sitting in their cars. There will be no cost for this nasopharyngeal swab PCR test that may detect a current COVID-19 infection. Persons with positive results will be called directly, while negative results will be sent to the person’s mailing address. Staff anticipates that test results will take 3-4 days.
    A second testing opportunity will be held at the Mountain Laurel Medical Center at 1027 Memorial Drive in Oakland on Friday, July 17 from 7:00 a.m to 1 p.m. More information will be forthcoming closer to that date.
    These clinics are for persons who do not have symptoms. Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their doctor to be tested at the hospital outpatient laboratory or other clinical laboratory. Persons that are interested in an antibody test for COVID-19 should also contact their health care provider.
    For more information, call 301 334-7770 or 301 895-3111.

    Posted 6/24/2020


  • New Employer Tool for Updating Return to Work Dates and Reporting Job Refusals Online

    Governor Larry Hogan recently announced the next round of safe and phased reopenings in conjunction with stage two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ plan. 
    In light of these reopenings, the Maryland Department of Labor has notified all unemployment claimants who are on temporary layoff or are furloughed due to COVID-19 that they are required to return to work if called back by their employer. If a claimant refuses an offer of work, it may result in the delay or denial of the claimant’s benefits. 
    Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance requires employers to report the following information within 15 days of when they offer work and it is refused by the employee: 
    Employee’s full name and social security number
    The date the employee was offered work 
    The date the employee refused the offer of work
    Employers who have a valid Maryland account number and FEIN may easily report job refusals and update return to work dates by utilizing the Division’s new online application available at https://secure-2.dllr.state.md.us/net207/welcome.aspx.  The application will accept an updated return to work date up to 30 days in the past and up to 12 months in the future.
    Employers without a valid Maryland account number, such as federal employers and those who are out-of-state, may report job refusals and update return to work dates by emailing ui.bulkclaim@maryland.gov.
    However, please note there are circumstances where a claimant has “good cause” to refuse an offer of work, including:
    Being sick or still isolated as the result of COVID-19
    An unreasonable risk of exposure at place of employment
    Caring for a family member who is sick or isolated as the result of COVID-19
    Caring for a child who is unable to attend school or a childcare facility
    The work is not “suitable.” In the context of an individual returning to work with the same employer in which the individual had been laid off or furloughed as a direct result of COVID-19, suitable employment means employment that the claimant is qualified for based on their customary occupation, experience, education level, and/or training.
    Upon receipt of this information from the employer, Labor will schedule a telephone fact-finding appointment with the claimant where the claimant will be able to address the failure to return-to-work/job refusal issue. The employer will also be contacted to provide the circumstances of the job offer. After the Division has collected the available facts surrounding the job offer, a determination will be made.
    Posted 6/23/2020


  • Governor Hogan Announces Next Stage Two Reopenings, Including Indoor Dining and Outdoor Amusements

    Next Round of Safe and Phased Reopenings Begins on Friday, June 12; Reopenings on Friday, June 19 to Include Gyms, Casinos, Malls
    Encourages Protesters to Get Tested, Expands COVID-19 Testing in Baltimore City
    State Superintendent Announces Reopenings for Summer Instruction, Child Care, and Outdoor High School Sports

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—With key statewide health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction, Governor Larry Hogan today announced additional safe and phased reopenings through Stage Two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’

    Read the full press release HERE

    Posted 6/11/2020


  • Paycheck Protection Program Updates

    President Trump signed into law sweeping changes to the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program today, making the program's lending terms more favorable to restaurants, retailers and other businesses.
    The bipartisan bill, titled the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, was passed May 28 by the House of Representatives and subsequently passed by the Senate on June 3 with bipartisan support, the only PPP reform effort to become law so far.
    The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act overhauls, key aspects of the program, and will:
    Extends the PPP loan forgiveness period to include costs incurred over 24 weeks after a loan is issued or through Dec. 31, whichever comes first.
    ***A letter of intent was submitted in the Senate to clarify that the provision was intended only to extend the deadline for borrowers to spend their PPP funds, and that no new PPP loans can be issued after June 30, 2020
    Extends a period in which loans can be forgiven if businesses restore staffing or salary levels that were previously reduced from June 30 to December 31. The provision would apply to worker and wage reductions made from Feb. 15 through 30 days after enactment of the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27. 
    Maintains forgiveness amounts for companies that document their inability to rehire workers employed as of Feb. 15, and their inability to find similarly qualified workers by the end of the year. Companies would be covered separately if they show that they couldn’t resume business levels from before Feb. 15 because they were following federal requirements for sanitization or social distancing.
    Requires at least 60% of forgiven loan amounts to come from payroll expenses (decrease from the current 75% required), therefore the new non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount is now 40% (up from 25%).
    Repeals a provision from the CARES Act that barred companies with forgiven PPP loans from deferring their payroll tax payments.
    Allows borrowers to defer principal and interest payments on PPP loans until the SBA compensates lenders for any forgiven amounts, instead of the current six-month deferral period. Borrowers that don’t apply for forgiveness would be given at least 10 months after the program expires to start making payments. Establishes a minimum loan maturity period of five years following an application for loan forgiveness, instead of the current two-year deadline set by the SBA. That provision would apply to PPP loans issued after the measure is enacted, though borrowers and lenders could agree to extend current loans.
    Posted 6/5/2020


  • Governor Hogan Announces Beginning of Stage Two of Maryland’s COVID-19 Recovery, Safe and Gradual Reopening of Workplaces and Businesses

    Additional Reopenings to Include Personal Services, State Government Agencies
    Stage Two Will Continue Flexible, Community-Based Approach; Jurisdictions to Decide Timing of Reopenings
    Clinical Lab at University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Genome Sciences Now Fully Operational for COVID-19 Testing
    Marylanders Cautioned to Remain Vigilant as Gradual, Phased Reopening Continues

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland will begin to move into Stage Two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ with a safe and gradual reopening of workplaces and businesses, along with additional personal services. This comes after the state’s positivity rate dropped to single digits, and total current hospitalizations fell to their lowest level in more than seven weeks.

    As with Stage One, Stage Two will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. All 24 of the state’s jurisdictions have now entered Stage One.

    To read the full press release click HERE

    Posted 6/4/2020


  • DOL & IRS Makes Changes to COBRA.

    On May 4, 2020, the DOL and the IRS jointly issued a new rule that temporarily extends certain timeframes impacting COBRA deadlines for a period of time referred to as the Outbreak Period. The Outbreak Period extends from March 1, 2020 thru 60 days following the declared end of the COVID-19 national emergency. At this time, the declared end date of the national emergency remains unknown.

    For additional information click HERE

    Posted 5/20/2020


  • Relief for Cafeteria Plans & Other Account Based Plans

    On May 12, 2020, new COVID-19 related guidance was released by the IRS and the Treasury. IRS Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33 provide significant new optional relief provisions pertaining to Section 125 cafeteria plans. There are several key provision changes.

    For additional information click HERE

    Posted 5/20/2020


  • Stage One: Governor Hogan Announces Gradual Reopenings With Flexible, Community-Based Approach

    ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.

    Read the full press release HERE

    Read the Executive Order HERE

    Read the Interpretive Guidance HERE.  

    Posted 5/14/2020


  • Garrett County Launches Kick-Start Small Business Grant 

    Garrett County Launches Kick-Start Small Business Grant 
    A new local grant program will assist Garrett County’s small businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Garrett County Economic Development and the Garrett County Development Corporation are proud to announce the Garrett County Kick-Start Grant program. This grant program replaces the Small Business Pandemic Interim Loan program previously offered.
    An initial $200,000 fund has been established for the purpose of providing one-time, short-term financial support to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 that meet the program’s eligibility requirements. The funding is designed to be used for business expenses not covered by state or federal programs.
    “We sincerely appreciate our partnership with the Garrett County Development Corporation in providing this funding to our local business community,” said Michael Hough, Director of Economic Development. “We anticipate grant funds will be depleted quickly and encourage eligible small businesses to apply as soon as possible.”
    To be eligible for the grant of up to a maximum of $2,500, the applicant must be a for-profit small business, with 2 to 25 employees or a restaurant or other food service business of any size, and be native to and located in Garrett County. The business must also be able to demonstrate financial impact/damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic and show documentation of applying for other financial assistance from at least one other source.
    “The Garrett County Economic Development Corporation is pleased to partner with Garrett County Economic Development in the creation of the Kick-Start Small Business Grant Program. In this time of uncertainty, this grant program will provide assistance to many local businesses,” said M. Elizabeth Georg, Chair Garrett County Development Corporation.
    The grant application will be available online on both the Department of Economic Development’s (www.gcedonline.com) and the Garrett County Development Corporation’s (www.gcdevcorp.com) websites on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 8:30 a.m.
    Grant funds, which will be released to successful applicants commensurate with government executive orders establishing reopen dates, will be on a first-come, first-serve basis until the pool of funds has been depleted.

    Posted 5/8/2020


  • Resumption of Elective Medical Procedures and Broadening of Permitted Outdoor Activities

    As Maryland continues preparations to begin Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ Governor Larry Hogan yesterday, May 6, announced the resumption of elective medical procedures and the broadening of permitted outdoor activities under the state’s Stay at Home order. Click here for the Executive Order and view the 6 Resumptive Action slides here

    Guidance for Outdoor Activities (camping, fishing, state parks, etc.)

    Best Practices for Businesses to Reopen GOLF

    Best Practices for Businesses to Reopen MARINAS

    Posted 5/7/2020


  • Phased-in Reopening – Where Does Your Business Fall

    Governor Hogan has released his Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery and has identified three phases for reopening the economy. He has broken down businesses into three categories – low risk, medium risk & high risk – that will be grouped into the phases of reopening. We have received many questions from businesses who would like to know under what phase their business would be allowed to reopen. If you are interested to learn where your business falls in the plan, please email Psector@maryland.gov. Please note that the Governor has not yet released any specific dates to begin phase one.

    Posted 4/30/2020


  • Expanded Unemployment Benefits 

    On Friday, April 24, the Maryland Dept. of Labor will be launching a new, one-stop unemployment insurance application to allow Marylanders to file claims for all unemployment programs entirely online. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, and those who were previously required to file by phone like federal employees, members of the military, individuals who have worked in multiple states, and those who have worked for more than 3 employers in the last 18 months.

    The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor opted into providing ALL three of the expanded unemployment insurance programs offered through the provisions of the CARES Act:

    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):

    • Individuals who are not usually eligible for regular UI and who cannot work due to COVID-19 are eligible for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits, which includes $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
    • Effective January 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
    • Starting Friday, April 24, those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, or have insufficient work history will be able to apply online.

    Full details are available at Click Here 

    Posted 4/21/2020

  • Governor Larry Hogan - Executive Order, April 15, 2020

    Governor Larry Hogan has a signed a statewide order effective Saturday, April 18 at 7 am, mandating shoppers and workers to wear face coverings in any retail establishment or on public transportation in the State of Maryland. Here are the guidelines from the CDC on how to make them at home. 

    Posted 4/16/2020


  • All Out-of-State Visitors to Garrett County Must Self-Quarantine

    April 8, 2020, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Commissioners would like to remind anyone traveling to the County, despite Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home directive, must self-quarantine for 14 days.

    Over the past month, all of the local emergency service organizations have been working to collaborate and organize COVID-19 response efforts Garrett County.  The goal is to lessen the potential impact on the local rural healthcare infrastructure.

    Read the full press release HERE

    Posted 4/8/2020


  • Garrett Commissioners Defer Accommodations Tax

    April 8, 2020, Oakland, MD – Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Transient Vacation Rental Unit market, as well as the vacation rental market in general, the Board of County Commissioners for Garrett County has authorized an Accommodation Tax deferral.

    Read the full press release HERE

    Posted 4/8/2020


  • GRMC Recommends the Use of Masks and Cloth Face Coverings to Fight COVID-19

    OAKLAND, MD- Garrett Regional Medical Center recommends the use of masks or cloth face coverings in public places including grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses as outlined in the latest CDC update. The use of a simple cloth face covering or mask can help slow the spread of infection by blocking respiratory droplets, preventing those who may not know they are infected from infecting others. Cloth face coverings can be fashioned out of fabric or other common household items including scarves, t-shirts, or bandanas as an additional protective health measure when out in public. 

    Read the full article HERE

    Posted 4/8/2020



    Your Chamber has reached out to Governor Hogan to request additional business assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. We have sent a list of recommended actions that we believe the Governor needs to take that are necessary for business survival and are important to economic recovery. We need you to request these same actions by sending your own letter to the Governor. Please email your letter to Mark Widmyer, western Maryland liaison for the Governor, mark.widmyer1@maryland.gov and Mat Palmer, Office of the Governor, mat.palmer@maryland.gov, today and request that they forward your letter to the Governor. Click HERE for a copy of the Chamber’s letter.

    Posted 4/6/2020


  • Gov. Hogan Orders “Stay at Home”

    Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday issued a stay-at-home order for Marylanders to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means no one should leave their home for any reason other than essential work, to get food or other fundamental reason. He said no one should travel outside of the state or ride public transportation unless it is “absolutely necessary.” The order takes effect at 8 p.m. March 30.

    The Governor said the state will enforce the directive. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    Read the official Order HERE

    Posted 3/30/2020


  • Message from the Garrett County Health Officer

    As the Health Officer for Garrett County I have consulted with the Garrett County Commissioners, as well as other County and State resources, and have determined that it is imperative, and in the interest of public health and safety that all TVRUs be closed, and not further rented, effective March 27, 2020; tomorrow, at 5:00 p.m. This means all existing bookings be canceled. This decision does not apply to hotel and motel occupancy but does apply to all Transient Vacation Rental Unit properties until or unless the Governor's Orders are further modified or the Interpretive Guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel directs otherwise. This decision was made in consultation and with the support of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners.  

    See the attached Health Officer's Orders 20-03-26

    Please see the attached Order and supporting documentation.  

    Please understand that this order required a great deal of consideration. I realize that this order will have an impact on agencies and owners, however the public health and safety of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic is paramount.

    Robert Stephens, MS
    Health Officer
    Garrett County Health Department
    1025 Memorial Drive
    Oakland, MD 21550
    Phone:301-334-7700  Fax:301-334-7717

    Posted 3/26/2020


  • COVID-19 Update Webinar Presented by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce - March 25, 2020

    The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Garrett County Health Department to host a special webinar on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The situation is very fluid but your Chamber, the GC Health Dept. and other county agencies are closely monitoring the situation. The purpose of the seminar is to prevent panic, provide up-to-date information on COVID-19, discuss steps being taken, provide recommended tips and actions for businesses to take and to disseminate materials for businesses to use and share with their employees and customers.

    Garrett County Health Department Presentation
    Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Presentation

    Posted 3/25/2020


  • Garrett County Department of Solid Waste & Recycling Announces Collection Site Changes

    Garrett County Department of Solid Waste & Recycling announces that Effective Tuesday March 31, 2020 ALL collection sites will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    The Landfill will continue to operate on a normal schedule but the office at the Landfill will be closed. Residents can contact the landfill by:

    Email: dwbaker@garrettcounty.org

    US mail: 3118 Oakland Sang Run Road
     Oakland, Maryland 21550

    Phone: 301.387.0322*
    *Due to the current Covid-19 emergency - Please leave a message. Calls will be returned.

    Permits are available online at www.garrettcounty.org or through the mail.

    Thanks for your cooperation as we continue to fight against COVID-19.

    Posted 3/24/2020


  • Additional Businesses, Organizations, and Facilities That May Remain Open (per Governor Hogan's March 23 Executive Order

    Re: Order of the Governor of the State of Maryland, Number 20-03-23-01, dated March 23, 2020, Amending and Restating the Order of March 19, 2020, Prohibiting Large Gatherings and Events and Closing Senior Centers, and Additionally Closing All Non-Essential Businesses and Other Establishments

    You can read the official Interpretive Guidance HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Governor Larry Hogan - Executive Order, March 23, 2020

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order Monday, March 23, 2020 for nonessential businesses to close Monday evening to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Hogan issued an executive order closing all nonessential businesses, organizations and establishments in Maryland effective 5 p.m. Monday, which is in addition to businesses already closed by previous executive orders.

    You can read the official Executive Order HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Comptroller Franchot: SALES & USE TAX NOT DUE TODAY

    Businesses who paid March Sales & Use Tax early may request refund

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 20, 2020) - UPDATED: Businesses who paid their Maryland Sales & Use Taxes for March early may request a refund of their payment by emailing taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov or by calling 410-260-4020.

    To assist businesses affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, Comptroller Peter Franchot wants to remind business owners that he has extended business-related tax filing deadlines. Sales and Use Tax payments that typically would be due today do not have to be paid until June 1.

    You can read the full press release HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Social Gatherings of 10 People or More Are Banned

    Vacation Rental Home Owners May Be Impacted by MD Governor’s Orders

    The Board of Commissioners for Garrett County encourage all vacation rentals be cancelled, whether through rental companies, Air BnB/VBRO or private individuals.

    Read the full press release HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Reschedule Your Visit to the Mountains says Garrett Commissioners

    March 21, 2020, Oakland, MD – As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change on a minute-by-minute basis, the Garrett County Health Department and the Board of Garrett County Commissioners are urging citizens to stay home, be responsible and avoid crowds.

    Read the full press release HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Governor Hogan Provides Updates on Coronavirus Cases and Statewide Response

    Asks Spring Break Travelers to Self-Quarantine For 14 Days, Avoid People Over 60
    Urges People Who Go Outside to Avoid Crowds, Playgrounds, and Pavilions
    Convenes Calls With Federal Delegation, Full Cabinet

    Read the full press release HERE

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Social Gathering Prohibition For Groups of 10 or More

    Per Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on March 19, 2020, in response to COVID-19, gatherings in the state of Maryland may not include more than 10 people. Please be informed that temporary rentals that accommodate a large gathering (10 or more) are included in this Executive Order. As such, reservations for rentals in Garrett County, Maryland that sleep 10 or more MUST be cancelled. If you have a reservation and must change it, please contact your rental home company.

    Please be aware that failure to comply with the Order may result in legal consequences, detailed in section XII of the Order, available for viewing HERE

    Posted 3/20/2020


  • Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus 

    Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland has received official designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    According to the SBA, the loans will help alleviate financial strain and allow businesses to pay bills, payroll, and accounts payable, with long-term payments stretching up to 30 years. Small businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply directly to the SBA for financial assistance here. (https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19). 

    Additional Document: 

    Fact Sheet - Economic Injury Disaster Loans

    Posted 3/20/2020


  • Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 and Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits Administration - Unemployment Insurance

    For answers check the Maryland Department of Labor's website. This information is updated frequently and you can click HERE to check for updates. 

    (This information is updated frequently. Check back for updates.)

    Edited 3/26/2020


  • Franchot Gives Maryland Taxpayers 3 Extra Months to Pay

    Maryland residents and businesses will have a three-month extension to pay their state taxes, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

    State tax payments for 2019 made by July 15 will occur no interest or penalty for lateness, he said in a statement his office released late Tuesday.

    The news follows Tuesday’s announcement at the White House that the April 15 deadline for federal income tax payments is being extended for 90 days, due to the coronavirus.

    “Right now, Maryland taxpayers and businesses must stay focused on their health and keeping their lights on, both in their homes and businesses,” Franchot said in the statement. “Extending the due date for Maryland state individual and business income tax payments helps us keep cash flowing in our economy and into employees’ bank accounts.”

    To read the full press release click HERE

    Posted 3/19/2020


  • Maryland Travel Updates: COVID-19

    Guidance for Travelers: The Maryland Office of Tourism wants every visitor experience in Maryland to be exceptional. Maryland Welcome Centers, bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, casinos and racetracks have been closed temporarily and  travelers are encouraged to contact businesses (attractions, stores, hotels and event venues) before visiting as many are closed for now. The safety of our visitors is our highest priority.

    For travel alerts visit the Maryland Office of Tourism's dedicated Travel Update webpage HERE

    Posted 3/18/2020


  • Garrett Regional Medical Center Opens Testing Site

    OAKLAND, MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has opened a COVID-19 testing clinic at its location on Pythian Avenue behind the hospital campus. The clinic was established in order to provide coronavirus testing for people throughout GRMC’s 8-county service area who may have been exposed to the virus or who are showing symptoms.

    You can read the full press release HERE
    Edited 3/26/2020



  • Maryland Department of Planning Statement on Census 2020 and COVID-19


    We take our duty to get the word out about Census 2020 very seriously. The responses from this year’s decennial Census will impact numerous critical services to the citizens of Maryland - including how many vaccines may be apportioned to each county, city or municipality of the state. These services also include healthcare, roads, infrastructure projects, emergency services, and other matters important to our everyday lives. This is in addition to the $16 billion in census derived funding that will be available to Maryland.
    The  health and safety of all Marylanders, including our staff, is of primary importance. The Department of Planning (Planning) is following the Governor’s mandates and doing all that we can to ensure that the Census counts residents in each corner of the state. This is more important now than ever. We are in the midst of a pandemic that is changing the way we approach common, daily routines – but we are also learning even more so the importance and impact of the Census.

    Census 2020 invitations are being sent to homes by the U.S. Census Bureau between Mar. 12 and 20 with instructions on how to participate. You may be thinking that responding to the Census means someone coming to your home. That’s not the case. In fact, the only reason for that to occur is if you don’t respond. It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. These are 21st century tools for a 21st century Census and you should take advantage of them as soon as you receive the invitation. You can even complete your Census now before the invitation arrives by simply clicking HERE.

    Instructions on the invitation will include the web address for the online questionnaire in English and 12 additional languages. Further, it also includes phone numbers for those who prefer to call in their responses. Residents can also respond via a paper questionnaire that can be mailed with a prepaid postage envelope. The deadline for responding on your own through these easy methods is July 31st. We urge you to complete the Census before that date. More information about the Census forms and deadline can be found at Census.gov.

    Planning’s Census website is a one-stop shop of information about the Census and is charged with getting the word out to all Marylanders. We do not conduct the count but are doing what we can to make sure citizens know about it and how easy and important it is to respond. Now more than ever, we are seeing firsthand how crucial the knowledge of counting citizens is. This year’s Census will inform the need for critical health care supplies such as vaccines.. We ask you to take 10 minutes to complete your form – it has a larger impact on the health and safety of our communities than you may have thought. Please help shape the future of Maryland at my2020census.gov.

    Posted 3/17/2020


  • UPMC Ready to Test for Coronavirus; First Collection Site Opens

    PITTSBURGH, March 14, 2020 – UPMC has developed a test for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — and will use this test to diagnose select, symptomatic cases. The health system plans to rapidly increase capacity at its central laboratory and, if there is a need, could test hundreds of patients per week in the near future, filling a critical gap before other commercial tests come online.

    To read the full press release click HERE

    Posted 3/17/2020