Hotels and vacation rentals can book travelers, but restaurants and area attractions must remain closed.

It’s official: Hotels in Ocean City are officially allowed to open for business. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan announced the removal of restrictions on hotels, motels, and vacation rentals at an emergency council meeting on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The declaration follows the announcement that Governor Larry Hogan is lifting of the stay-at-home order across the state on Friday. The city placed a moratorium on rentals until May 22, but the council had said they could revisit that date earlier depending on action at the state level.

Meehan opened the beach and boardwalk to the community last weekend, but cold weather and lack of lodging kept the crowds away. With temperatures expected to climb into the 80s this weekend, visitors may be booking a ton of last-minute trips to the ocean town. The restrictions requiring visitors from outside the state to quarantine for 14 days will also be lifted. Visitors and residents must still practice social distancing, and gatherings with more than 10 people are still prohibited.

File image of Ocean City Boardwalk

File image of Ocean City Boardwalk

What is not clear yet is how the hotels and vacation rentals will function in this new COVID-19 world. Some hotels have been open for essential employees, but obviously with low occupancy rates that made it easier to space out guests. Keeping rooms sanitized between bookings and upholding good social distancing will be an issue for hotels across the country this summer.

Restaurants and bars in Ocean City still remain closed except for carryout and delivery. Amusement parks and other attractions will also be closed with the exception of area golf courses. The Outlets of Ocean City have announced they will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning on May 16. Visitors can still indulge in outdoor recreation like boating, fishing, and hiking.