Hogan Implements Stay at Home Directive for Maryland in Continued COVID-19 Response
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan made it clear Monday that in the face of dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases in Maryland, the time for suggestions on how best to slow the spread is over.
At a news conference, the governor sounded more like an aggravated parent or frustrated coach trying to keep his kids safe or call the plays to lead his team to victory with the fewest amount of fouls. Hogan said despite repeated warnings, some people are still choosing to ignore his executive orders and those individuals are endangering themselves and their fellow citizens.
It’s to that end that Hogan issuing a statewide stay-at-home executive order amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials are advising people to not leave their home other than for essentials. Hogan said he is concerned about the virus spreading to "literally thousands" of facilities in the state. Any person who knowingly violates the order will be hit with a misdemeanor. "We are no longer asking residents to stay home, said Hogan. “ We are directing them to do so. No Maryland resident should be leaving their home, unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason. “
Violating order is a misdemeanor subject to up to a year in jail and not more than a $5000 fine-- or both. To reinforce the severity of this order, the state will be issuing a WIRELESS ALERT to the phones and mobile devices of all Marylanders.
As of Monday morning, the state of Maryland reported 1,413 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, 174 cases have been added since Sunday; 13,316 people have tested negative for the virus; 43 patients have been released from isolation, and there have been 15 deaths--including a one month old infant.
A man is dead after a coronavirus outbreak at a senior facility in Mt. Airy. The man, in his 90s suffered from underlying health conditions. Pleasant View Nursing Home in Carroll County has 66 residents that have tested positive for COVID-19. Seventeen of the residents are being hospitalized at Carroll Hospital or Frederick Hospital. Pleasant View has 104 beds and are currently experiencing a staff shortage because some employees are staying home sick.
Governor Hogan announced is that drive-thru testing sites will open at three VEIP stations, in Glen Burnie, Waldorf, and Bel AIr. Screening and testing site opens at FedEx field Monday. Testing at these sites is strictly limited to those with a referral from their health care provider, and who have an appointment to be tested.
Marylanders should not travel outside the state unless absolutely necessary. All Marylanders who have recently traveled outside the region should self-quarantine for 14 days. Governor Hogan said essential businesses must take more steps to scale down in-person operations and institute telework for as much of their workforce as possible. “If you can telework, you should be teleworking,“ said Hogan.
So what are essential needs for which you could leave your home and not get in trouble with the law? Governor enumerates them in his executive order:
II. Stay-at-Home Order.
a. All persons living in the State of Maryland are hereby ordered, effective as of
8:00 p.m. on March 30, 2020, to stay in their homes or places of residences
i. to conduct or participate in Essential Activities (defined below);
ii. staff and owners of businesses and organizations that are not required to
close pursuant to paragraph IV or paragraph V below may travel:
1. between their Homes and those businesses and organizations; and
2. to and from customers for the purpose of delivering goods or
performing services; and
iii. staff and owners of Non-Essential Businesses (defined below) may travel:
1. between their Homes and those Non-Essential Businesses for the
purpose of engaging in Minimal Operations; and
2. to and from customers for the purpose of delivering goods.
b. As used herein, “Essential Activities” means:
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i. Obtaining necessary supplies or services for one’s self, family, household
members, pets, or livestock, including, without limitation: groceries,
supplies for household consumption or use, supplies and equipment
needed to work from home, laundry, and products needed to maintain
safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence;
ii. Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of one’s self,
family, household members, pets, or livestock, including such things as
seeking medical or behavior health or emergency services, and obtaining
medication or medical supplies;
iii. Caring for a family member, friend, pet, or livestock in another household
or location, including, without limitation, transporting a family member,
friend, pet, or livestock animal for essential health and safety activities,
and to obtain necessary supplies and services;
iv. Traveling to and from an educational institution for purposes of receiving
meals or instructional materials for distance learning;
v. Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running,
or biking, but only in compliance with paragraph III below and applicable
social distancing guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and the Maryland Department of Health
vi. Travel required by a law enforcement officer or court order; or
vii. Traveling to and from a federal, State, or local government building for a
Still in place from eleven days ago, the governor’s directive that no one should be using any mode of public transportation unless they are essential personnel or unless that travel is absolutely necessary.
The governor is issuing an order to suspend any requirement that families pay premiums into the Maryland Childen's Health Program, so that families will not lose coverage during this crisis. More than 5,300 applications have been received for the COVID-19 relief fund. More than 11,000 applications for the grant fund. Hogan said $8.8 million has already been provided to more than 400 small businesses, which has helped more than 8,000 Marylanders keep their jobs across the state.
Last week, Governor Hogan announced an economic relief package of more than $175 million to assist small businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. A $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000. Additional eligibility requirements can be found here.
Maryland Commerce is also working on creating a $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry.
The Department also has a number of existing financing programs, like Advantage Maryland, which provides conditional loans for new businesses or business expansions; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority and Fund (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged businesses; and the Non-Profit Interest-Free Micro-Bridge Loan Program, which provides loans to nonprofits to support ongoing operating costs while waiting on a future government grant or contract. A total of about $40 million is available through these existing programs.
Governor Hogan has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. A total of $7 million in funds will be available to provide flexible rapid response services to proactively support businesses and workers undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19. Funding can help Maryland’s workforce adhere to social distancing policies by purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, providing on-site cleaning and sanitation services at businesses that have workers delivering essential services, and implementing other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures in the business community.
Governor Hogan also signed an emergency order to protect families from price gouging on everyday household items and essentials. Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis for profit or personal gain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.