Friday Five | November 13, 2020

COVID-19 cases are surging in Maryland and across the country. The Maryland Department of Health regularly updates its data in order to keep Marylanders informed about trends in cases, hospitalizations, and other metrics. It is abundantly clear that we must remain vigilant in following federal, state, local, and CDC guidance. We must continue to work together to do the things necessary to slow the spread in order to keep Maryland open for business and on the road to recovery.


Each Friday, the Maryland Chamber will bring you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s top five stories.

 1. As COVID Cases Rise Into ‘Danger Zone,’ Hogan Tightens Restrictions

As the number of Marylanders with COVID-19 continues to rise and the state crossed warning thresholds set by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) reduced dine-in capacity for bars and restaurants, issued new guidance to avoid out-of-state travel, encouraged telework and asserted that a coronavirus surge could be in Maryland’s future.

Maryland has had seven straight days with more than 1,000 new cases. The state has crossed over into a “danger zone,” Hogan said.

On Monday, for the first time since June 25, Maryland’s 7-day statewide positive COVID-19 test rate crossed over a 5% benchmark ― one of several metrics that can be used to monitor the spread of COVID ― set by the CDC and WHO.

Additionally, the governor announced another $70 million in targeted investments utilizing coronavirus relief funding to further bolster the state’s emergency response to the coronavirus surge.

More on the restrictions and changes here.

2. Gov. Hogan Announces an Additional $250 Million to Support Businesses Statewide

Gov. Larry Hogan announced another $250 million in assistance in economic relief Thursday, including $50 million of which will be for the state’s small business COVID-19 relief fund, and another $50 million for restaurants and bars.

Hogan said state officials are still waiting on Congress to pass another stimulus bill in order to fill all of the state’s business needs, but hopes the additional state funds provide some immediate relief.

Find the full story here.

3. Find the Right COVID-19 Support Resources for Your Business

In the wake of new restrictions, it’s important to remember that there are numerous local and national programs for businesses in need of emergency support, but understanding which options are relevant for your organization can be a challenge.

The Maryland Business Relief Wizard is a tool that helps connect businesses with the resources and programming for which they’re eligible, streamlining the process of finding support.

For the full list of resources and to start applying, head here.

4. Maryland Businesses Launch Campaign Against Digital Ad Tax

A group of Maryland businesses and individuals launched a campaign on Tuesday to persuade state lawmakers to nix a tax on digital ads.

At the end of the 2020 Maryland legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill that would create a gross receipts tax on revenues derived from digital advertising services in Maryland. The outcome was legislation that will increase costs for every single person and business that advertises services online—from the smallest mom-and-pop to the largest corporation. Governor Hogan promptly vetoed the bill.

Today, businesses of all sizes are marketing online. Access to online platforms is direct and easy to manage, and the digital advertising ecosystem benefits entities of every type across the entire spectrum of Maryland’s economy.

 If the General Assembly overrides the governor’s veto of HB 732 when it returns to Annapolis in January, the result will be increased costs for Maryland’s job creators when they are hurting the most as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic burden of this legislation will ultimately be borne by Maryland businesses that utilize online platforms to advertise their services and reach new customers. What is more, if the veto is overridden, Maryland would also have the notorious distinction of being the only state in the country to enact an online advertising tax.

A coalition of independent businesses and individuals has formed to ensure that taxes implemented by the Maryland General Assembly do not place an unnecessary and undue burden on the state’s entrepreneurs and job creators.

Learn more about Marylanders for Tax Fairness here.

5. Maryland Researchers Had Hand in Pfizer’s Vaccine Candidate That’s Showing Promise

As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, one vaccine candidate is showing signs of promise. Drug company Pfizer revealed Monday it’s trial coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing infection with few safety concerns.

The promising vaccine got its start in May at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which ran phase one of the clinical trial. Dr. Kathy Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, called the early results remarkable.

Find more on this story here.

Check out our Maryland Chamber Events Page for all of our Upcoming Webinars, Briefings, and Sponsored Events!

Upcoming calendar of legislative briefings and hearings

Monday, November 16, 2020

  • 10:00 a.m. – Task Force on Economic Future of Western Maryland
    • Public teleconference to discuss recommendations/infrastructure
    • Dial-in #617-675-4444; Pin 1965931822419#
    • See MGA Website for additional information

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

  • 1:00 p.m. – Joint House Health & Government Operations Committee & Health and Social Services Subcommittee
    • Webinar briefing from the Maryland Department of Health on Optum
    • See MGA Website for additional information

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

  • 2:30 p.m. – Joint Subcommittee on Program Open Space/Agricultural Land Preservation
    • Briefing by relevant State agencies on issues to related to land conservation, including the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Program Open Space, agricultural land preservation, and State Park operations
    • See MGA Website for additional information

Wearing a mask in public lets us live life more safely. And it keeps you and everyone around you better protected from coronavirus. The more we mask together, the faster we get back to enjoying life…together. So, just carry on, masks on, Maryland.





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by Maryland Chamber of Commerce