Reopening Guidelines and Compliance

Howard County Reopening Outdoor Seating at Restaurants, Updates Food Consumption Guidance for Religious Gatherings (Effective May 29, 2020)

Howard County’s Lifted Restriction Guidance as of May 26th

On May 26th, 2020, Calvin Ball release an Executive Order lifting the additional restrictions for retail, barbers and hair salons, as well as religious institutions. Additional interpretative guidance available here.

Beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, May 29th: 

  • Retailers in Howard County may open at 50% of maximum occupancy.  
    • Retailers are still encouraged to use curbside pick-up whenever possible.  
  • Barbers and hair salons may open at 50% of maximum occupancy including staff.  
    • Businesses must continue to operate by appointment only.  
    • Staff and clients must wear masks.  
  • Religious institutions may hold outdoor services of up to 250 people, as long as all participants can maintain appropriate physical distancing of 6 feet.  
    • Indoor services are still limited to a maximum of 10 people. 

The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has provided guidelines for businesses to determine their maximum occupancy to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All retail stores must post signage at or near the front door reminding customers to wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Howard County will provide signs digitally that business owners can print and display in their businesses.  

Howard County Executive Order 2020-09 supersedes Howard County Executive Order 2020-08, issued on May 15, 2020, to the extent it applies to barber shops and hair salons, religious institutions, and retail establishments. The remaining provisions of Executive Order 2020-08 remain in full force and effect.

Howard County Reopening Guidance as of May 15th

Howard County businesses must follow these reopening rules as the primary directive as to whether they may legally reopen. These rules supersede the statewide rules listed below. Find all Howard County Executive Orders here.

If your business category is not specifically addressed in the 2020-08 Exercise of Emergency Powers, please refer to the Governors COVID-19 Orders below.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will continue to open Howard County according to HoCo RISE freamework, Reopening Innovatively, Safely, and Effectively. More information on HoCo RISE can be found here.


Governor’s COVID-19 Orders and Guidance

Proclamations and orders issued by Governor Larry Hogan related to COVID-19, along with interpretive guidance from the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Order: Amending and restating the order of May 13, 2020, allowing reopening of certain businesses and facilities, subject to local regulation. (May 28th)

Order: Gatherings, Reopening of Certain Businesses and Facilities (May 13th)

Guidance: COVID19-14 – Businesses That May Reopen (May 13th)


Maryland Reopening Guidelines and Compliance – Specific Instructions by Industry


Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes – Centers for Disease Control

       Cleaning & Disinfecting Decision Tool


Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19 – Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

The toolkit includes:
Instruction Manual (PDF)
Business Risk Worksheet (PDF)
Assessment Calculator (Spreadsheet)

Reopening, Retooling, and Retraining

World 2.0

Thought leadership and insights on operating a business in the post-pandemic world. Powered by Howard County Economic Development Authority and Maryland Innovation Center.


A Guide to Reopening Your Business – US Chamber of Commerce


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