MRA’s Updates from Annapolis

MDE Notice of Virtual Public Hearing – HFC prohibitions

The Maryland Department of the Environment is proposing new Regulations .01 to .06 under new chapter COMAR 26.11.33 Prohibitions on Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons in Aerosol Propellants, Chillers, Foam, and Stationary Refrigeration End-Uses and will hold a virtual public hearing. This action seeks to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions by adopting specific United States Significant New Alternatives Policy Programs (SNAP) prohibitions for certain substances in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, aerosol propellants, and foam end-uses. This action will not be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of Maryland’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) at this time.
The full text of the proposed regulation appeared in the Maryland Register today and can be viewed here.

A virtual hearing on the proposed regulation will be held at 10:00am on Monday, August 17, 2020. Please let us know if you have thoughts on the position MRA should take on this issue.

Food Industry Resources and Updates
Governor Hogan Encourages Mask WearingGovernor Hogan has expressed deep concern regarding the percentage of adults under 35 years old who have tested positive for COVID-19. He has released a letter reminding bars and restaurants of the rules required for reopening and encouraging County leaders to enforce these rules as strictly as possible, with orders to close businesses as necessary. You can view the letter here.

Polystyrene Ban UpdateAs Maryland businesses continue to prepare for the statewide ban on Styrofoam products, now pushed to October 2020, we would remind members that the ban was amended this Session to exclude foam egg cartons. Egg producers packaging products for sale in Maryland may continue to use polystyrene packaging after the statewide ban takes effect. You can view the passed legislation here.

Urge Congress to Expand SNAP Online in Next Relief Package

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, independent grocers are working to accommodate unprecedented consumer demand for online grocery orders, but only a limited number of grocery retailers are currently approved to accommodate SNAP customers with online ordering. Although 40 states have launched SNAP online purchasing, independent grocers have been left behind while larger competitors participating in the original pilot program have moved into states across the country.

This has caused great concern for family-owned, privately-held grocers who face technical challenges and barriers to participate, such as lack of resources or financial capacity.

Please click here to urge your Members of Congress to include the Expanding SNAP Options Act (H.R. 7535/S. 4202) in the Phase Four COVID-19 relief package. This legislation would provide technical assistance to grocers implementing SNAP online purchasing programs and defer expensive costs for retailers that lack the capacity and resources necessary to get online.

Webinar Opportunities

The Business Imperative for Equity and InclusionThe Maryland Chamber Foundation in partnership with BGE presents the first installment of the webinar series promoting equity and inclusion in the workplace.
No matter the industry, diversity and inclusion have to be a business imperative—a core part of a company’s collective purpose. Attendees will learn how BGE, an Exelon company, has built an environment that unlocks the potential of diversity and ensures that the best ideas and practices can emerge and be embraced. By integrating alternative perspectives, companies gain additional insight into how to solve problems, innovate and meet the needs of its customers and communities. Ultimately, these benefits impact your regulatory compliance, workplace culture and your bottom-line.

Date: Monday, July 20
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm
Click here to register.

Retailer Resources
Our partners at the National Retail Federation have compiled a list of retail job opportunities in Maryland. Click here to view this helpful resource, and please let us know if you would like to submit your own job postings.
The University of Maryland Medical System is also currently hiring for per diem, benefited positions. You can view the job postings site here. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who is currently looking for work.

NRF has put together a helpful checklist to help retailers prepare to reopen. You can view the list here.

NRF has also organized working groups to support “Operation Open Doors – Path to Reopen Retail.” They have hosted several working group calls to start gathering guidance and resources for retailers as stores begin to reopen across the country. If representatives from your company would like to get involved, please fill out the form here.

Members who would like to sign and display the Maryland Strong: BACK TO BUSINESS PLEDGE can view and download a copy here.

Stay in the Know

A list of Maryland and Federal COVID-19 news updates and information, and a list of critical items needed for donation to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, is available on MRA’s resources for businesses page. If you’re having trouble determining what resources are most appropriate for your business, check out the Maryland Business Relief Wizard, a tool that helps connect businesses with the resources and programming for which they’re eligible.

Please click here for Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance. The Departments of Commerce and Labor have confirmed that any small business receiving financial assistance via federal loan programs is NOT DISQUALIFIED from applying for the loans/grants being offered at the state level. The same can be said in reverse – if a small business is receiving state assistance they are NOT DISQUALIFIED from federal loans and grants.

Our expert benefit partners are available during this challenging time to assist with your business needs, including shipping, loans, job posting, legal advice and more. Members with shipping questions can view updates, tips, and news from PartnerShip here. Please note you should consult industry experts with specific concerns, however we are here to connect you to, or help find answers to your questions.

Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.