Gov. Hogan has issued an executive order requiring all Marylanders to stay at home. The order goes into effect at 8 p.m. Monday.
“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes,” Hogan said Monday.
“This is a deadly public health crisis. We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home, we are directing them to do so,” he said. “Today’s order states that any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.”
The governor said Maryland and the national capital region, which includes D.C. and Virginia, had reached “a critical turning point in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” noting that the number of positive cases in Maryland had increased by 397 percent in the past week “and sadly the number of deaths here in Maryland has tripled from five to fiifteen over the weekend.”
“For those who still refuse to take this pandemic seriously and those who are still downplaying the severity of this crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said yesterday that we could expect millions of cases in the United States and a hundred thousand deaths. To put that in perspective, that would mean more American deaths than the Vietnam War and the Korean War added together,” Hogan said.
“This virus is spreading rapidly and exponentially,” he said. “In spite of all … our repeated warnings for more than three weeks, and in spite of the rapid escalation of this crisis across the world, nation, and our state, some people are still choosing to ignore those executive orders and directives. Those individuals are endangering themselves and their fellow citizens. Anyone who engages in that type of reckless behavior is in violation of state law and is putting the lives of their family, their friends, and their fellow Marylanders at risk.”
“People are not locked in their homes; we’re just telling people that they need to stay in their homes except for essential and necessary things,” Hogan said. “People have to go out and get the food they need, to get prescriptions, you should be able to get outside for your own physical and mental well-being and go for a walk and take your dog for a walk. You should not be going out with a crowd of a hundred people congregating in a park somewhere.
“If your faucets … if your plumbing is leaking all over your house and you have to go out and do something about fixing that that’s probably a necessary function but you shouldn’t be out shopping for new carpets or cabinets or out buying furniture or clothing…. You should be buying the necessary things you need to survive,” he said.
In addition to the stay-at-home directive, Hogan said only essential businesses are allowed to remain open in Maryland. Those businesses must make every effort to reduce the number of staff to limit in-person interaction with customers as much as possible and to allow telework for as much of the workforce as is practical.
The governor said Maryland residents should not travel outside the state unless it’s absolutely necessary. Anyone who has traveled outside the region in recent weeks should self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who travels into the state also is urged to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“Marylanders need to know that unfortunately we are only at the beginning of this crisis and it is going to get considerably worse before it gets better,” Hogan said. “I realize that this is incredibly difficult on everyone in our state. I want people to know that we have been through difficult challenges before and that we are going to get through this together.
“I also want to take just a moment to thank our doctors, nurses, all of our healthcare providers and first responders, along with our citizen soldiers of the National Guard. They are on the front lines every single day putting their own health at risk in order to keep others safe and they are true heroes.”
The governor noted that numerous local school systems had donated masks, gloves, and other supplies to local health departments.
“There are just literally hundreds of wonderful stories of small businesses, nonprofits, churches, volunteer groups, and individuals that are doing truly incredible things and the fact is that each and every one of us has a chance right now to do something to help our neighbors,” Hogan said. “Every single Marylander can be a hero just by staying home and by practicing social distancing. This will not only keep you and your family safe, but it could also save the lives of thousands of others. In the days to come, we are all going to need to depend on each other, to look out for each other, and to take care of each other because we are all in this together.”
Fran Phillips, the state’s deputy health secretary, said, “We are in this for weeks if not months. This will be a sustained effort by every one of us to battle this virus. This is indeed the greatest public health challenge of our lifetimes and we all need to face this together.
“We have no vaccine to protect us against this virus, we have no treatments to cure this disease,” she said. “As the number of people hospitalized across the country and here in Maryland grow, we see that even the basic gear to protect healthcare workers, first responders is in short supply.”
“I want to say specifically to the people in Maryland, ‘We are in this together,’” Phillips said. “When this crisis is over — and one day it will be over — we will look back at this time in our lives as a particularly extraordinary moment.
“When we look back, we have to be able to say that we did everything we could to save lives. We stayed home, we missed school, we missed our friends, all of our normal routines, so we could fight this virus and save lives,” she said. “We will say we gave up so much for a while in order to save our loved ones, our friends, neighbors, and countless others that we will never know.”