Gov. Larry Hogan, in collaboration with Maryland’s financial institutions, announced a series of financial relief initiatives to provide further assistance to millions of Marylanders and small businesses who are facing economic hardships due to COVID-19. Nearly 70 of Maryland’s largest banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, state agencies, and other financial entities have collaborated to provide additional flexibility to borrowers.
“I wish that I could tell you when we’re going to turn the corner, when you’ll be able to go back to work, to school, to church, or when any of us will be able to get back to living a normal life again,” Hogan said. “No matter how long and how hard the road ahead may be, we are going to have to find a way together to keep going and to keep fighting this invisible enemy with everything we’ve got. It may seem hard to believe right now, but I am hopeful that our state will make it through this together, and that eventually, we will come back stronger and better than ever.”
MOMENT OF PRAYER. While it is currently unsafe to gather together in churches, temples, and other places of worship across the state, Governor Hogan issued a proclamation declaring a statewide moment of prayer and reflection at noon on Sunday, April 5.
“This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, and Wednesday is the beginning of Passover for our Jewish community,” said the governor. “In the Christian faith, we use this time to remember and reflect on the sacrifice of one, for the redemption of many. Each and every one of us is now being asked to make sacrifices that may very well help save the lives of others. At noon this Sunday, I am calling on all Marylanders to join together at home, or wherever you are, in a moment of prayer or reflection for those we have lost, those who are sick, and the doctors, nurses, clinicians, health care workers, and first responders on the front lines around the clock working to bring about a new dawn in our history.”
FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGE. Governor Hogan enacted an executive order which builds on an earlier order that prohibits residential evictions arising from a tenant’s substantial loss of income due to COVID-19. The latest order is now extended to commercial and industrial evictions. The order also:
• Stops lenders from initiating the mortgage foreclosure process
• Authorizes the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation to suspend certain lending limits for Maryland banks and credit unions, on a case-by-case basis, in an effort to make more credit available to businesses
• Prohibits repossession of cars and trucks
• Prohibits repossession of homes that are not considered “real property,” such as mobile homes, trailers, and live-aboard boats
Consistent with applicable guidelines, Marylanders may be eligible for the following opportunities upon contacting their financial service providers:
• 90 Days of Payment Forbearance or Deferral. Mortgage lenders and servicers will provide up to a 90-day forbearance or deferral period for mortgage payments.
• Waiving Late Fees. Mortgage lenders and servicers will not charge late fees during the forbearance or deferral period.
• Credit Reporting. Mortgage lenders and servicers will not report negative information to the credit bureaus during the forbearance or deferral period.
• 90 Days Forbearance from Foreclosure Initiation. All mortgage lenders and servicers will follow the forbearance and reduced payment programs established by federal authorities.
HOSPITAL SURGE PLAN. Governor Hogan has ordered the acceleration of the state’s hospital surge plan in order to be completed six weeks ahead of schedule. Work is underway to create capacity immediately through expansions to existing facilities, like hotels and convention centers.
• Baltimore Convention Center. Initial construction is complete on the field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center, including facilities for patient and staff areas. Partitions and other necessary fixtures are being finalized this weekend, and 100 staff members have already been hired.
• Medical Tents. The first wave of advanced medical tents have been assigned to hospitals and to Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services facilities, and more will be allocated in the coming days.
NEW DRIVE-THRU TESTING SITES. On Monday, three vehicle emission inspections stations were opened in Glen Burnie, Waldorf and Bel Air. Two additional testing sites at emission inspection stations will be opened in Columbia in Howard County and White Oak in Montgomery County. All patients must obtain a referral from their doctor and will be seen by appointment only.
NEW GUIDANCE FOR LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES. As multiple long-term care facilities in Maryland experience COVID-19 outbreaks among vulnerable residents, the Maryland Department of Health has issued new guidance to these facilities to promote the use of procedure or surgical masks for employees at all times and in all areas. Read the full guidance here.
GOVERNOR HOGAN ENACTS TELEHEALTH EXPANSION. Prior to today’s press conference, Governor Hogan enacted HB448/SB402 and HB1208/SB502. This emergency legislation enables health care providers in Maryland to provide remote health care services so long as those services follow proper standards of care, and expands coverage of mental health services provided via telehealth.