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Business Requirements During Emergency Clarified

Last Updated on Apr 10, 2020 at 2:25pm | Communications Office
By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team
The Governor has given local health officials the authority to require modification of operations or to close businesses that are not complying with social distancing guidelines. This Executive Order was issued in the interest of protecting the citizens of Maryland from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Garrett County Health Department contacted businesses across the county this week with guidance on how to protect their employees and customers. Letters were emailed and hand-delivered to businesses that remain open under the essential business classification according to the Governor’s Executive Order.
“Many retail establishments are doing a great job of protecting their customers and employees,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “However, there are some who are not following guidance and providing for social distancing and we hope this letter will help take care of that problem.”
The retail businesses were required to comply with social distancing guidance by the time they opened for business on Friday, April 10th.
Strategies already being used by some essential retailers, and recommended to those not yet complying, include:
  • marking floors to ensure adequate distance between customers
  • limiting the number of people at one time in the facility or establishing customer flow patterns to avoid contact between customers
  • setting up barriers between the employee and the customer when the six-foot minimum for social distance is not possible
  • employees wearing a facemask if social distancing and barriers are not sufficient
In addition, establishments were reminded that it is imperative to disinfect surfaces that customers regularly touch, including shopping carts, door handles, checkout areas, and other high-touch surfaces.
Non-retail businesses, such as manufacturers and shipping establishments, also received letters this week about protecting their employees through similar social distancing and disinfection measures. Since their letters were delivered later in the week, their deadline for compliance is Monday, April 13.
Complaints about unsafe practices at any business will be investigated by the Health Department and if a facility is determined to be unsafe it will receive an Order issued by the Health Officer for immediate compliance along with a reinspection notice. Repeated safety violations may result in an Order to close all or part of the facility for the duration of the emergency or until measures are corrected.
Information about how to comply with guidelines can be found at and local guidance documents are provided at
The current count of positive cases in Garrett County remains at four.
Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. Please visit the Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard at for current and accurate information about the situation. Starting today COVID-19 testing numbers will be reported daily by noon on