Maryland Now Allows Camping, Golf, Other Outdoor Activities

D.C., Maryland and Virginia are under stay-at-home orders but have made some amendments as new coronavirus infections show signs of slowing

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Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have been under stay-at-home orders for weeks as leaders aim to slow the spread of coronavirus.

People are generally only allowed to leave their homes only for pressing reasons, including getting food and necessary supplies, seeking health care and exercising. Both Maryland and D.C. require masks in most indoor places; Virginia strongly recommends them.

Only essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, are allowed to be open.

The rules of the stay-at-home orders have been amended as social distancing continues. Maryland and Virginia both are eyeing plans to phase in reopening around May 15.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday eased the stay-at-home order to allow residents to get elective medical procedures and do many more outdoor activities, loosening restrictions.

Here's a look at what you can do and can't do in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as of Thursday, May 7.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington


The stay-at-home order went into effect at 8 p.m. March 30 and is set to remain in effect until the state of emergency is over. Violations can be punished with a misdemeanor charge carrying possible jail time, fines or both. But Maryland relaxed some outdoor recreation rules starting May 7.

More of us are buying our groceries online in an effort to avoid the store, and the longer this pandemic plays out, the more our eating habits are changing. News4's Susan Hogan has a closer look at a survey revealing the local grocery trends.

Read Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's full executive order here and interpretive guidance here.

What's allowed in Maryland:

  • Grocery shopping and getting food: You can leave home to buy food, equipment to work from home and household essentials. You can also go to a school, food bank or other location that provides food. Takeout and delivery from restaurants are still allowed.
  • Food and drink carryout and delivery: But curbside pickup at all nonessential businesses is now banned.
  • Exercising Outdoors: People are allowed to leave their homes to exercise in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
  • Outdoor recreation activities: More outdoor activities will be allowed starting May 7 as Department of Natural Resources facilities are allowed to open. Golfing, tennis, outdoor fitness instruction, recreational fishing, hunting, boating, horseback riding and camping at Maryland state parks. Social distancing rules must be followed. Read more here
  • Visiting recreation-oriented businesses and public amenities: Golf courses, driving ranges, archery and shooting ranges, marinas, watercraft rental businesses and campgrounds are all allowed to operate as of May 7. That doesn't mean all will definitely reopen, check with your local spot before heading over.
  • Visiting the beach: Beaches are open for outdoor exercise, including swimming. But people should follow social distancing rules. Chairs, blankets and picnics are not allowed.
  • Elective and non-urgent medical procedures: Health care facilities and providers can resume such procedures as early as Thursday if they deem it appropriate. Providers must have a one week supply of personal protective equipment to move forward and screen anyone for COVID-19 when they arrive.
  • Working an essential job: Traveling to an essential job and working are allowed.
  • Essential businesses: Maryland's essential businesses, ranging from medicine manufacturers to liquor stores to auto repair shops, can stay open. Here's full guidance. Check your local store's hours and operating status before going.
  • Getting medical care and medicine: This includes mental healthcare
  • Telehealth appointments: More types of appointments can be conducted through telehealth. Get in touch with your health care provider for more details.
  • Caring for a relative or friend
  • Caring for livestock and pets: That includes walking a dog outdoors.
  • Going to a small business for minimal operations: Securing inventory and property are among allowed minimal operations for small businesses.
  • Visiting government buildings: Go for necessary reasons only.
  • Going to a school to get distance learning supplies or equipment
  • Travel required by law: Travel required by court order, such as a custody agreement, or law enforcement officer is permitted.
  • Limited hunting, fishing and crabbing: You can hunt, fish and crab for food, but follow social distancing guidelines. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a guide on personal spacing at state parks.
  • Leaving home for your own health and safety: For instance, victims of domestic violence can seek help. Here are some resources.
  • Getting a haircut in specific circumstances: A barber or hairstylist won't face law enforcement if they give a single customer a haircut. The customer must have a letter from their employer establishing grooming standards. Everyone must wear a face mask.
  • Drive-in religious services and limited in-person services: Social distancing rules must be followed. For in-person services, no more than 10 people are allowed and the building must be cleaned between services.
  • Remote notarization, witnessing and signing: You can use a remote witness or sign many documents electronically. 
Maryland has lifted restrictions on tennis, golf and other outdoor activities, but counties still have the final say. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

What's not allowed in Maryland:

  • Forgoing a mask: You must wear a mask in many places, including on public transit, restaurants, grocery stores or retail stores.
  • Social gatherings: Socializing in violation of social distancing and crowd limits is not allowed.
  • Church services and other gatherings of more than 10 people
  • Going to the gym: Fitness centers, indoor sports facilities and similar places should be closed.
  • Unnecessary out-of-state travel: Marylanders shouldn't travel out of state unless absolutely necessary. Anyone who recently left the state should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Curbside pickup at nonessential businesses: Carry-out and drive-through are still explicitly allowed at restaurants.
  • Haircuts and grooming services that aren't required by work
  • Cutting off utility service: Electric, gas, sewage disposal, telegraph, telephone, water, cable and internet companies should not turn off service or impose late fees.
  • Evictions and foreclosures: Evictions and foreclosures are not allowed until the public health emergency is over.
  • Visiting a casino: All casinos in Maryland are closed.
  • Price gouging: Businesses aren't allowed to take advantage of the crisis to overcharge.
  • Leaving on a cruise: Baltimore's port is closed to cruises.
Virginia will allow local governments to reopen with tougher restrictions for a while longer if necessary. News4's Erika Gonzalez reports.


Virginia's stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30 and is set to remain in effect until June 10, 2020, unless rescinded or changed. Virginians are allowed to go out for a number of reasons but should stay 6 feet apart from others.

Virginia is eyeing reopening around May 15, but Northam says counties and towns will be allowed to extend restrictions if they chose.

Read Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's full executive order here.

What's allowed in Virginia:

  • Grocery shopping and getting food: You can leave home to buy food, beverages and other household essentials. You can also go to a school, food bank or other location that provides food. Takeout and delivery from restaurants are still allowed. Farmers markets can offer pick up, grab and go, delivery and online sales, but dining, browsing and congregating are not allowed.
  • Exercise outdoors: Hiking, walking in state parks and other outdoor exercises are allowed. You must abide by social distancing rules.
  • Obtain medical care and medicine: But officials have asked any nonessential medical care be postponed. At-home medical care is also allowed. You can also go out to fill prescriptions.
  • Elective surgeries are allowed as of May 1.
  • Essential businesses: Such businesses are still allowed to operate in Virginia. They include laundromats, hardware stores, grocery stores and more. Check your local store hours before going.
  • Obtain social, governmental, emergency or law enforcement services
  • Taking care of individuals and animals: You can take people to get medical care and pets to the veterinarian.
  • Visiting the home of a family member
  • Traveling to facilitate child custody or visitation agreements
  • Other travel required by court order
  • Traveling between home, work and places of worship
  • Traveling to or from an educational institution
  • Volunteering: You can volunteer with charities or social service organizations.
  • Fishing: You can fish and exercise at public beaches, which are otherwise closed.
  • Travel across state lines: Roads and highways will remain open.
  • Worship: Houses of worship can hold services but must abide by the 10-person limit. People are strongly encouraged to meet virtually or via a drive-through.
  • Golfing and boating: Private outdoor recreation businesses such as golf courses and marinas have not been directed to close. Even on the water, people not in the same household are required to stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • At-home cosmetology services: Licensed cosmetology providers can provide one-on-one services at home. The state encourages extra hand washing, sanitizing and isolating yourself at the first sign of cold or fever.
  • Travel without special documentation: You don't need special documentation to prove you are traveling for an essential purpose, Virginia says.
  • Leaving home due to a fear for health or safety, including at the direction of law enforcement or other government agencies. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can connect you with help for yourself or someone you know.
  • Visiting a state park: You can use state parks for daytime activities, but your local parks and playgrounds may be closed. Here's what to know.

What's not allowed in Virginia:

  • Public and private gatherings of a certain size: Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed for any reason, indoor or outdoor. Exceptions include homes where more than 10 people live and operations of businesses that are essential.
  • In-person college classes: Institutions of higher education must abide by distancing rules, with some exceptions for facilitating distance learning and continuing critical research.
  • Camping: Reservations for less than 14 nights of camping at privately-owned campgrounds must be canceled effective April 1 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Recreationally visiting a beach: Beaches are closed except for fishing and exercise.
  • Large worship services: Churches and houses of worship must abide by the 10-person limit on gatherings.
  • Nonessential medical appointments: Routine appointments like eye exams and teeth cleanings should be canceled or postponed.
  • Going to the gym: Fitness centers, indoor sports facilities and similar places should be closed.
  • Going to Shenandoah National Park: While outside for exercise is generally allowed, this National Park voluntarily closed after a request from the region's health department. Virginia State Highways 211 and 33 are still open.
  • Visiting the DMV in-person: Department of Motor Vehicles offices can start reopening after May 11.
  • Visiting a golf course: Public and private golf courses have been directed to close.

Washington, D.C.

Residents can leave their homes (which includes porches and yards) to engage in essential activities, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser's order. The order initially was in effect from April 1-24, 2020. On April 15, Bowser extended the order through May 15.

All activities must be carried out in accordance with social distancing orders: Stay at least 6 feet apart, clean your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, disinfect surfaces and don't shake hands or make other physical contact.

Read D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's executive order and an FAQ here.

Parts of Virginia and Maryland are getting ready to reopen -- but not D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says her city is not even close to opening up businesses again. News4's Mark Segraves has the mayor's warning to residents considering visiting Virginia and Maryland.

What's allowed in Washington, D.C.:

  • Grocery shopping and getting food: You can leave home to buy food and other household essentials. Takeout and delivery from restaurants are still allowed. Starting April 8, outdoor markets are no longer automatically considered essential, but such businesses can ask the city for permission to continue operations. You must wear masks in grocery stores, the city says.
  • Exercising outdoors: Allowable recreational activities with your household members are allowed. Permitted activities include walking a dog, hiking, biking, scootering, gardening and similar activities that honor social distancing and require no person-to-person contact. Tennis and golf are no longer allowed.
  • Obtaining medical care: If you can't get treated via telehealth, you are allowed to visit your health care provider. If you think you have coronavirus, call ahead. Home health care workers are considered essential.
  • Essential businesses: Businesses previously declared essential can continue to operate. That includes auto servicing centers, banks, bike shops, liquor stores and more. Check your local store's hours and operating status before going.
  • Obtaining medical supplies or medication
  • Obtaining supplies needed to work from home
  • Minimal business operations: Securing inventory, disinfecting, setting up employees to work from home and processing payroll are included in what's allowed. Must be carried out in accordance with social distancing policies.
  • Home-based services: As long as they do not require physical touching and are carried out while honoring social distancing rules. Services must be necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and operation of homes.
  • Essential Travel: Going out for supplies, to get medical care and to work an essential job are reasons for travel. Travel to care for elderly people, kids or other vulnerable persons or to comply with law enforcement or court orders is allowed. You can also travel to houses of worship, to educational institutions to pick up meals or supplies, to return home and to engage in allowable activities.
  • Taking the bus or Metro: For essential reasons, like going to an essential job or getting food. Riders must wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and should enter vans and buses through the back door to protect drivers. Operators and staff are instructed to frequently disinfect.
  • Taking ride-share for essential purposes: For essential reasons, like going to an essential job or getting food. Drivers must have disinfecting wipes and must use them after every ride. Only two passengers are allowed at a time and face coverings are required.
  • Taking a shared scooter or bike: Individuals are encouraged to wipe down the devices with their own wipes.
  • Teleworking: Working from home is encouraged
  • Caring for family members and pets: You can leave home to care for a person who needs help with activities of daily living, including child care. Companionship and entertainment are not considered care-giving.
  • Seeing a dentist: Only if absolutely necessary.
  • Seeing a mental health care provider: Telehealth is better if possible.
  • Hosting a funeral: Mortuary services continue and funerals are allowed, but must abide by the 10-person limit.
  • Construction projects: New construction can continue, but the city urges social distancing guidelines to be observed.
  • Go to a storage facility: But limit it to essential trips, the mayor says.
  • Call a locksmith
  • Have your house painted
  • Essential work: A range of jobs, including grocery workers, utility operators and medical workers are all considered essential.
  • Apartment and condo rooftops or courtyard spaces can open, but only members of one household at a time can be there. Many apartments and condos may still close these areas.
  • Community gardens are still open, but follow social distancing rules.

What's not allowed in Washington, D.C.:

  • Common area gatherings in apartments and condos: Residents are not allowed to linger in common areas of apartments, including lobbies, party rooms, pools or rooftop spaces. Using such spaces is not allowed, the city says. Buildings can develop a system where one household at a time can use rooftops and courtyards.
  • Using building gyms: The city says the gyms in your apartment or condo likely aren't disinfected enough and could expose people to coronavirus.
  • Going out while sick: Likely or confirmed coronavirus patients or anyone with another infectious disease is not allowed out except to seek medical care coordinated with a provider.
  • Going to a spa, massage parlor or gym: None of these are considered health care operations.
  • Taking your pet to get groomed
  • Playing golf and tennis
  • Eating at a salad bar or hot bar: Stores are not allowed to serve food in this way
  • Forgoing a mask: Grocery stores, retail stores, rideshare vehicles, hotels and public transit shall require face coverings.
  • Visiting a residential facility, such as a nursing home.

Penalties include up to $1,000 in civil or administrative fines, misdemeanor charges carrying fines up to $5,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail and loss of business licenses.

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