MRA’s COVID-19 Updates

Governor Hogan Announces Expanded Statewide Mask Order, Out-of-State Travel Advisory

With the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, Governor Hogan is expanding the statewide masking order that has been in effect since April 18.

Under this order, which takes effect Friday, July 31 at 5:00 p.m., all Marylanders over the age of five are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state.

Face coverings will also be required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. The expanded order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions.

Click here to read the governor’s order.
Click here to read the full media release.

Federal Updates

The Senate Republican COVID-19 Phase 4 bill – The HEALS Act (Health, Education Assistance, Liability Protections, Schools Act) – was introduced this week. Several different Senators have announced bills intended to address each of those topics. This includes:

  • Senator Cornyn and Leader McConnell have filed the SAFE TO WORK Act, which provides liability protections from COVID liability lawsuits for frontline workers and businesses. 
  • SAFE TO WORK Act language
  • SAFE TO WORK Act section-by-section
  • SFC CARES 2.0: Senate Finance Committee provisions (information regarding unemployment benefits and direct payments to families)
  • Text
  • Section-by-section
  • China related provisions, including:
  • A modified version of Senator Graham’s US MADE Act
  • Senator Portman’s Safeguarding American Innovation Act
  • Senator Cornyn’s CHIPS for America Act
  • Senator Murkowski’s American Mineral Security Act
  • Full text of these provisions
  • Section-by-section
  • Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee):
  • Language
  • Section-by-section
  • Summary
  • Senator Mitt Romney’s TRUST Act:
  • Background:
  • COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our country and our economy – that impact will extend to the fiscal health of Medicare and Social Security. 
  • If Congress does nothing, these programs will reach insolvency years sooner than expected.
  • The bill establishes temporary bipartisan, bicameral committees specially designed to develop proposals that fix the financial problems surrounding these programs – and to set up a process for Congress vote on them quickly.
  • Full text
  • Section-by-section
  • Summary
  • Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander introduced the “Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act” 
  • According to the Committee majority staff, the legislation helps 43 million Americans manage their student debt, expands school choice, and provides more child care so parents can get back to work. 
  • The legislation also strengthens the Strategic National Stockpile by allowing the federal government partner with companies to increase reserves of medical products and supplies needed during a public health emergency, such as masks and ventilators, and helps speed up the development and distribution of diagnostic tests by the private sector to address emerging infectious diseases.
  • Text of Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act
  • Section-by-Section of Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act
  • Back to Work child grants one pager
  • Education Freedom Scholarships one pager 
  • Simplifying Student Loan Repayment one pager
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Shelby introduced emergency appropriations to aid American families and businesses suffering from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • Text
  • Section-by-section

Weights & Measures Device Registration Extension

Due to the COVID-19, the certificate expiration date for weights and measures registrations has been extended to September 30, 2020. In the very near future, the Department of Agriculture plans to mail non-renewed businesses an application with the enclosed cover letter. Businesses are encouraged to use the online payment portal as the preferred payment option:

Letters Urging Federal Policy Change

MRA signed on to several letters this week supporting legislation and urging for policy changes at the federal level. A coalition letter signed by 480 entities was sent to members of Congress calling for passage of the timely, targeted, and temporary COVID-19 liability protections set forth in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act”. A letter was sent to the Federal Reserve Board requesting the regulated debit interchange rate be updated, and that the Board undertake regular and periodic adjustment of the debit interchange rate to align with the statutory mandate that the interchange fee charged on a debit transaction be reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer. A letter was sent to Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) supporting their bill (H.R. 7665) that would require USTR to extend all of the current 301 China tariff exclusions for at least one year from when they are set to expire. The bill also requires USTR to be more transparent in their exclusion extension decisions. A coalition letter was sent to members of Congress in support of liability protection for businesses in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

Additionally, Governor Hogan signed on to a letter urging Congressional leadership to support a COVID-19 package that includes liability protection for businesses.