- An End to Maryland’s State of Emergency – read now
- Good Neighbors Worth Their Weight in Gold – read now
An End to Maryland’s State of Emergency
A WCS News Alert
July 1, 2021 will initiate the lifting of Maryland’s COVID-19 State of Emergency per an announcement made by Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday, June 15. The state has been in this designation for fifteen months, which was instated on March 5, 2020. The July 1 date commences a 45-day administrative grace period consisting of relaxed orders to allow a transitioning from pandemic-related practices, with the State of Emergency coming to a full end on August 15th.
Aside from resurrecting personal to-do lists that were put on the back burner, like renewing that expired driver’s license, businesses should take this time to review the initiatives and mandates that have become second-nature during this altered state of time.
A prominent change will be the lifting of the mask mandate, meaning masks will no longer be necessary on public transport, or in schools, childcare facilities (including camps), or medical facilities. Private businesses may continue to enact their own policies as they see fit, and a federal mask mandate remains in effect. Local governments still have the ability to enact their own policies as well.
Additional changes have been made addressing the remote notarization and witnessing of documents. There will also be an end to the expiration and renewal extensions of state-issued licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations. This includes professional licenses.
While employers should be knowledgeable of the ceasing orders that directly relate to their operations, they should also be conscious of the orders ending that may involve the lives of their employees with potential impact on work circumstances. Examples include an end to childcare provisions allowed for essential personnel, rent payment and eviction suspension, and the quarantine and testing of those who travel. A review of company accommodations and policies may benefit employers in efforts to successfully transition with these changes.
You can read all impacted emergency orders here.
If you have any questions regarding moving forward in your business operations in the wake of the discontinued State of Emergency, you can contact our Employment and Labor Law Group.
Good Neighbors Worth Their Weight in Gold
Every homeowner has one—that dreaded “honey do” list. You’ve got to expand the flower bed, pull weeds, fix the fence, replace gutters, mow grass, trim trees, etc. Your list may also have even bigger projects. New fences, bigger decks, landscaping, in-ground pools, and other projects may go a long way in making your summer more enjoyable, but if not carefully planned and executed, you may get tangled up with legal headaches stemming from those things intended to create less stress at home.
Homeowners associations were created to ensure that neighborhoods and communities maintained a certain degree of aesthetic value and uniformity. Homeowners associations have the legal right to enforce the rules and regulations spelled out in charters or agreements. If you or your contractor violate the covenants, the homeowners association may pursue a civil lawsuit to enforce its covenants. If more oppressive, if county codes are violated, the County’s code enforcement division may issue citations and ultimately obtain a lien against your property. None of this even comes close to the ire of an angry neighbor.
So what can you do to avoid unforeseen legal hassles? Here are a few tips that will hopefully keep you on everyone’s good side:
- Hire a contractor who will file for all of the necessary permits. Each county has their own regulations regarding residential development, including rules for decks, additions, fences and pools. Making sure your contractor knows and will follow the rules set by the County makes everything go smoother and gives you confidence that your contractor has the necessary experience.
- Schedule a meeting with the president of the homeowners association and/or the head of the construction/architectural committee in your association. Your simple project may require approval or construction may be otherwise restricted to certain times of year. Don’t wait to find out until there is already a giant mud pool in your backyard.
- Make sure your contractor is aware of noise ordinances and parking regulations in your neighborhood. No one wants to wake up early on a Saturday to hammers and circular saws.
- Property lines can be a sticking point, so make sure the work being performed is on your land and not across restricted easements. Not 100% sure? Hire a surveyor to determine property lines before you begin any work.
- Most importantly, talk to your neighbors and let them know you’re embarking on a project. A quick visit will be appreciated and may minimize or eliminate neighbor complaints which interfere with your project.
Originally published August 8, 2018.
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