BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are many questions on which businesses are deemed “essential” and can stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Workers inside Wells Discount Liquors were a different kind of busy Tuesday.

“It’s a really weird time. I mean, every day is unpredictable,” Roxann Rogers, of Wells Discount Liquors, said.

Much of their business is now ordered by phone and only two customers are allowed inside at a time.

“We don’t let them shop the aisles,” Rogers said. “We’ll go get all the product for them and bring it up.”

Liquor stores are deemed “essential” under state’s guidance.

“I can’t imagine being stuck home with my children and not being able to drink,” Rogers joked.

Body shops are not quite as busy, but Hampden Auto Shop is staying open since they service plenty of doctors, nurses and first responders.

“It’s definitely affecting us,” Sam Saehis said. “I had to cut down my staff by half, but we have to be here.”


Gov. Larry Hogan acknowledged many businesses, even those open, are hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Hogan said Monday he wants those essential to the supply chain to keep their doors open.

“We’re just going to do everything we can to keep people safe, but it’s going to hurt a lot of small businesses and a lot of people who aren’t working,” Hogan said.

The list of businesses that can remain open spans from gas stations to convenience stores, hotels and motels, laundry services and pet stores, just to name some.

Bicycle repair shops also made that essential list. Joe Traill, of Joe’s Bike Shop, said he hasn’t cut hours yet, but it could be on the table.

“There is a sense of validation that the State of Maryland recognizes bicycles are more than just recreational tools,” Traill said.

While Joe’s Bike Shop is open, its had to adapt like many other businesses.

“Hey, we’ll come and pick your car off. We’ll sanitize it before, and then we’ll drop it off so they don’t have to come out of the house,” Saehis said.

“We’ve been wiping down bicycles,” Traill said. “We’ve been trying to respect our customers and asking them to do the same.”

These food and agricultural businesses can remain open:
  • grocery stores
  • farmer’s markets
  • convenience stores
  • alcoholic beverage stores/distributors
  • farms
  • pet supply stores
  • vet hospitals
  • restaurants and bars are required to close their dining rooms but can operate carry-out, delivery, drive-thrus

Several other businesses in the chemical, lodging, communications, manufacturing, defense, emergency, financial, government, health, IT and water and waste management sectors can also remain open. >> READ A FULL LIST HERE <<

At the retail locations open that are still open across Maryland, there is a heavy focus on sanitation and practicing social distancing.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler


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