COVID-19 Resources: How to Stay Safe, Help Others

Information is crucial to public health, safety and well-being. Please see below for resources that may aid you during this time. If we’re missing something, please let us know by emailing [email protected].

COVID-19 Symptoms, current guidelines, and where to get help 

  • Symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and, in more severe cases, pneumonia.
  • If you become sick, especially if you are 60 or older or have pre-existing medical conditions, contact your health care provider or local health department before going to see them.
  • Indoor dining, retail establishments and religious facilities remain open at reduced capacity. All bars, restaurants, and venues serving food and alcohol must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for carryout and delivery.
  • Marylanders are required to wear face coverings when inside retail establishments or using public transportation.  This is particularly important because many people with COVID-19 do not experience symptoms. Using a mask can help slow or prevent transmission of the virus, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • On Dec. 17, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order to curtail travel in and out of Maryland. Under the order, Marylanders who travel out of state must either receive a negative COVID-19 test result or quarantine for 10 days before returning. The same would be true of out-of-state residents visiting Maryland. Washington, D.C., Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania are exempt from the order — and Hogan said the state won’t aggressively enforce it.
  • Gov. Hogan also issued a public health advisory, lowering the limit on group gatherings in the state from 25 to 10.
  • Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have additional restrictions. Please check the State of Maryland website or that of your county for up-to-date information.
  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Maryland Department of Health websites for more information.

Vaccine information

  • Phase 1a of vaccine distribution in Maryland began the week of December 14: 155,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being distributed to healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing home residents and staff, and first responders.
  • Phase 1b will expand vaccine eligibility to teachers, child-care workers, people 75 and older, and members of various high-risk groups starting Jan. 18, 2021. Read more here.
  • Phase 2 distributes vaccines to essential non-healthcare and transportation workers, and people at moderately higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
  • Phase 3 targets the general public. The initial draft of the state plan is available here.

Food assistance 

  • Sign up for the Food Supplement Program/SNAP (formerly called food stamps) by filing an application online with myDHR. Much more information can be found here. Everyone has the right to apply for the FSP. Eligibility is based on income and individual situation and will be evaluated based on your application and a follow-up interview. You may qualify if you:
    • Work for low wages
    • Are unemployed or work part time
    • Receive Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) or other public assistance payment
    • Are elderly or have a disability and live on a small income
    • Are homeless
  • School breakfast/lunch
  • Food banks/pantries  — as a resource or as a place to donate
    • For resources in Prince George’s or Montgomery County, visit the Capital Area Food Bank site
    • To locate food banks near you in other areas in the state, use the Maryland Food Bank map.

Filing for unemployment 

  • No matter when or how they file, Marylanders become eligible for benefits starting after the day after they separated from employment.
  • Because of the pandemic, congresspersons extended federal unemployment insurance programs under the CARES Act in a relief package called, “Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers.”
  • Applications for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPEC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) claims will continue through March 13, 2021 in Maryland. Read more here.
  • Claims can be filed entirely online. More information and next steps here.

Health insurance 

  • Gov. Larry Hogan extended Maryland’s special health insurance enrollment period from Jan. 4 – Mar. 15, 2021. Those who apply between Jan. 4 and Jan. 15 will begin to receive coverage effective Jan. 1; coverage starts Feb. 1 for people who enroll between Jan. 16 and Feb. 15; and coverage for residents who enroll between Feb. 16 and March 15 will go into effect on March 1.
  • You can enroll any time of year if you’re eligible for Medicaid or if you’ve recently had certain qualifying life events, like losing your job, getting married or turning 26.
  • More information and next steps here.


Domestic violence 

Mental health 


How to help others

  • Our story on virtual volunteering points you in the right direction if you’re looking for ways to help during this pandemic. We compiled a list of volunteer sites and search engines from across the state to help you get started.