Only 14 Maryland counties are included under the latest eviction prevention measures issued by the federal government, a move that could create wildly different outcomes for tenants across the state in just over a week.
The newest eviction moratorium targets counties that are experiencing a “high” or “substantial” level of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the order issued Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, that includes 14 counties in Maryland, which are shown in red and orange on a tracking map created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ten counties in Maryland are experiencing “moderate” community transmission of COVID-19, so the CDC’s eviction prevention order will not take effect there.
Maryland still has its own eviction protections in place, but those are set to end on Aug. 15. The state order allows renters to use the effects of COVID-19 as an affirmative defense to stave off an eviction in court — a shield that tenant advocates have said is inadequate.
A spokesperson for Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state will not extend its eviction moratorium beyond Aug. 15.
Once the state order expires, federal protections will be the only guard against evictions for people who have been financially devastated by the pandemic. The CDC’s targeted order means those protections will only exist in some counties in Maryland.
Here are the counties where the CDC’s eviction prevention order will take effect:
- Baltimore City
- Anne Arundel
- Prince George’s
- St. Mary’s
And here are the counties where the order will not apply, as of Wednesday’s map:
- Baltimore County
- Queen Anne’s
The CDC’s map of community transmission is updated daily, so the counties could change.
By distinguishing among counties based on their levels of COVID-19 transmission, the CDC order threatens to create confusion and widely different protections for tenants in different parts of Maryland.
The CDC’s new order replaces a federal eviction ban that expired at the end of July. The new order extends the protections through Oct. 3, though President Joe Biden acknowledged there are questions about its legality.
The previous order covered the entire nation, while the new extension focuses only on the areas hardest hit by COVID-19. The CDC in the order said that preventing evictions and homelessness would help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The new freeze applies to more than 80% of counties nationwide, according to the order.
If counties move into the “high” or “substantial” community transmission categories while the CDC’s order is in effect, they will become subject to the eviction moratorium immediately. The order will stop applying in counties that fall to lower levels of community transmission if they maintain the lower risk level for 14 consecutive days.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the emergence of the Delta variant has accelerated community transmission in the U.S.
“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads,” she said in a news release. “… mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse.”
Madeleine O’Neill covers the Maryland State House and state issues for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @maddioneill.