We are reaching out with this updated bulletin as a result of Governor Hogan’s announcement of tightened restrictions related to recent spikes in positivity, hospitalizations, and raw positive test numbers. Along with these spikes already happening, we feel there is substantial short term (1-3 months) risk to our clients. The updates to Maryland Emergency orders can be found at the following link. The full guidance can be found at the link, here is a summary of the recent updates:
Maryland Takes Action to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
With Maryland’s positivity rate exceeding 5% for the first time since June and health metrics spiking across the nation, Governor Hogan announced on November 10 a series of actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Indoor dining. The governor issued an emergency order reducing indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50%, effective November 11 at 5 p.m. Bars and restaurants are permitted to be open for seated and distanced service only, with strict capacity restrictions.
- Indoor gatherings. With contact tracing data showing an uptick in cases resulting from family gatherings and house parties, state health officials have issued a public health advisory strongly discouraging indoor gatherings of 25 people or more.
- Travel advisory. Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline.
- Telework. Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Budget and Management to immediately execute a period of mandatory telework across state agencies, except for essential direct public-facing services and other essential personnel. State officials strongly encourage all businesses to take immediate steps to expand telework.
- Hospital surge capacity. State health officials have issued an emergency order expanding hospital surge capacity that provides state EMS officials with the flexibility to shift patients to alternate care sites and to add capacity at those sites if the need arises.
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities.State health officials have issued new guidance for slowing the spread of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Marylanders should stay home if sick and get tested before they visit. Staff should minimize their contact with large gatherings and communicate early and often about infection control issues at their facilities. Indoor visitation is not permitted if the facility is currently conducting outbreak testing and in accordance with federal guidance on this subject.
We believe continued increases to monitored data points may lead to more restrictions or even a total rollback to “essential businesses being open” with possible shutdown of those deemed “non-essential”.
We also believe significant risk from the incoming Presidential Administration which has repeatedly signaled shutdowns as a primary tool for reducing the spread of coronavirus.
Finally, we believe assistance for the small business community (those unable to access liquidity through the markets) is not immediately forthcoming during this same period.
These are real risks to your business. You should assume, for planning purposes, that you will be facing all three scenarios meaning: shutdowns for non-essential businesses at the State Level, National shutdowns during the winter months after the inauguration, and no immediate assistance immediately available from the Federal Government.
Planning and Best Practices
We have been working with our clients on plans for the possibilities illustrated above. We are sending this note to remind you of what you should have in place already or be close to finalizing. If you need assistance you should contact GSTeam immediately.
You should be running weekly (or at least monthly) cash flow analysis (past) and projections (future). You should have in place clearly define goals around cash in the door on a monthly and quarterly basis. If you are cash negative (even a little) or if you do not have clear, attainable cash forecasts and goals, you should contact your GSTeam advisor.
You should be working on, or have finalized your revised sales playbook, target demographics, and mapped out initiatives and activities through February 2021. These sales initiatives, and activities will lay the foundation for a healthy emergence from any business disruptions.
You must prioritize defining work product, results, and protocols for continuity of your business even while shut down or limited in some way. Your essential team members must be able to work remotely when possible and have the structure necessary to produce results absent direct supervision.
You should be rating employees and assessing which positions are essential, and which are not. In the event of shut down, you may find yourself in a position of evaluating layoffs.
Ideally, a vaccine will be available and widely distributed prior to the worst potential impacts. But again, you should plan as if you will be facing the worst scenarios above.