Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced today his framework for reopening, HoCo RISE, Reopening Innovatively, Safely, and Effectively. Based on HoCo RISE, Ball also released guidance to Howard County residents, businesses, and organizations on what will remain closed and what will reopen Friday, May 15th at 5 p.m. To view the complete HoCo RISE framework, please click here.

HoCo RISE provides additional data points that are specific to Howard County, our hospital, and our infrastructure to combat COVID-19,” said Ball. “We’re a data-informed, people-driven community and this framework will allow us to make thoughtful decisions about how to responsibly reopen.

Ball continued, “At this point, we have made progress and are on track to continue increasing contact tracing and testing. However, there are still concerns about our proximity to counties with much higher case rates, our ability to access testing reagents, and whether we will be able to sustain this progress. The Governor’s announcement came as a bit of surprise. We did not expect him to go as far as he did, especially in areas like religious gatherings.”

We recognize the significant burden our residents, workers, and businesses have faced over the past six weeksThis week, another 3,199 residents filed for unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance, bringing Howard County’s total unemployment claims to more than 26,000. We are still working towards many of the building blocks needed for additional reopening, but we feel as though some limited retail and outdoor activities can resume safely at this time.” 

County Executive Ball has made the following decisions on each of the Governor’s Phase One actions:

Stay-At-Home Order 

Howard County did not implement a county-wide Stay-At-Home order and one will not be implemented at this time. Residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and abide by the Governor’s “Safer-At-Home” public health advisory.

Religious Services 

Howard County in-person religious gatherings may resume with 10 people or less and are strongly encouraged to take place in outdoor settings. 


The following is a non-exhaustive list of Howard County retail businesses that may open but are restricted to curbside pick-up or delivery only:

Art galleries


Clothing and shoe stores


Furniture stores


Lawn and garden stores

Pawn shops

Sporting goods stores

Tobacco and vape shops

The following retail establishments may operate at 50% capacity:

Pet Groomers 

Animal Adoption

Car Washes


Howard County manufacturing businesses may open following the guidelines issued by the State of Maryland.

Barber Shops/Beauty Salons 

Howard County barber shops and hair salons may open by appointment only with only one customer allowed in a location at a time. Businesses should follow guidelines issued by the State of Maryland.

The Governor’s Phase One reopening does NOT include nail salons, esthetician services, or massage parlors. 

Archery/Shooting Ranges

Howard County outdoor archery and shooting ranges may open with appropriate physical distancing and mask requirements. 


Howard County campgrounds will remain closed. 

Marinas/Watercraft Rental 

Howard County Recreation & Parks boat rentals will remain closed.

Columbia Association’s boat rentals will remain closed.

Horse Boarding/Riding Facilities 

Howard County horse boarding and riding facilities may open with appropriate physical distancing and mask requirements. 

Mall in Columbia 

Mall in Columbia stores with exterior access may open for curbside pick-up or delivery only