Maryland to Close All Non-Essential Businesses at 5 p.m.

Dear WANADA Members,

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced this morning that all non-essential business will be closed statewide as of 5 p.m. According to The Baltimore Sun, Gov. Hogan's executive order will follow the federal guidelines around "essential" businesses, which include auto repair facilities.

The executive order will require all dealership showrooms to close statewide as of 5 p.m., but auto repair facilities will be allowed to remain open, while adhering to CDC guidelines around social distancing and OSHA regulations

We are currently seeking guidance on whether dealers could still operate skeleton crews to handle vehicle sales on a by-appointment basis, and also whether they can do home deliveries or test drives on request. We will continue to update you as we get more information.

Fortunately, the order is not  a shelter-in-place order, so Marylanders will still be able to move outside to do things like get their vehicles repaired in an environment that is safe for customers and employees alike. Please refer to Maryland's Department of Labor COVID-19 resource page for businesses as a key resource.

We will keep you updated on all developments at the federal, state, and local levels that are of importance to you, your businesses, and your employees. Please refer to our COVID-19 information page as a repository of dealer-focused information related to this pandemic. And, should you elect to continue operating your auto repair facilities (and, at least for now, your Virginia showrooms), please take great care to adhere to all CDC health and safety guidelines.

Maryland Layoff Aversion Fund and Unemployment Benefits

I strongly encourage Maryland dealers to check out the state's new  Layoff Aversion Fund, which provides up to $50,000 in grants per applicant to help defray costs associated with shifting some business functions to remote work.

Similar to what Gov. Ralph Northam announced in Virginia last week, Maryland is waiving work-search requirements and the waiting period for applying for unemployment benefits. 


We know that this mandate from Gov. Hogan will cause significant disruption to your dealership operations, and we stand ready to assist you in any way we can. As I mentioned, please refer to our COVID-19 information page for more dealership-centered information, and also please feel free to contact me or Joe Koch ( at any time.

If you have any WANADA insurance or benefits-related questions, please contact Ed Mullaney ( or Connie Ryan ( We are with you through this process, and we will continue to be with you long after this crisis passes.

John O'Donnell
WANADA President and CEO