Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday signed a stay-at-home executive order effective at 8 p.m. tonight.
The order will force more businesses to close and shift to remote work.
“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home; we are directing them to do so,” Hogan said outside the State House in Annapolis. “No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason.”
You can still go outside.
In addition to essential reasons – such as carryout pick-up, grocery shopping, pharmacy needs and medical care – state residents can get some fresh air for their physical and mental health.
“People are not locked in their homes,” Hogan explained in a press conference so avidly watched that the online link to the text of order briefly crashed.
That said, he added, “You shouldn’t be out shopping for new carpets or cabinets.”
Read Hogan’s order here.
Carroll County Outbreak
Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for public health services at the Maryland Health Department, provided more detailed advice.
You should only go on walks with people you live with, and always maintain at least six feet of space, she said.
The executive order, Hogan’s 26th in recent weeks, comes as the number of known cases of COVID-19 in the state is rising quickly.
Hogan said it took three weeks for the Washington region to go from 1 to 1,000 cases, and just three days to go from 1,000 to over 2,500.
There are now 1,413 known cases in Maryland, according to the Maryland Department of Health, including 152 in Baltimore City and 186 in Baltimore County. The number of deaths tripled over the past weekend, from five to 15.
Among the latest alarming developments was an outbreak at a nursing home in Mount Airy in Carroll County. Hogan said 67 residents had tested positive for the virus, and 27 staff members were showing symptoms.
As he announced the ratcheted-up restrictions, the governor offered a grim warning: In two weeks, the Washington area could look like New York does now.
He also said that a one-month-old infant had tested positive.
By staying home, Hogan said, “Each and every one of us has a chance right now to help our neighbors.”
Other Grim Predictions
Hogan today cited Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is advising President Donald Trump on the federal response.
Fauci said even with current measures in place, millions of Americans could get the virus, and more than 100,000 could die.
“This is indeed the greatest public health challenge of our lifetimes” – Fran Phillips.
“To put that in perspective,” Hogan said, “that would mean more American deaths than the Vietnam War and the Korean War added together.”
Hogan said the slowdown of the economy would be “devastating” to the state budget.
“This is, indeed, the greatest public health challenge of our lifetimes,” Phillips added. “What you do today, what you do tomorrow, it matters.”
Baltimore County News
Baltimore County announced a number of additional measures aimed at protecting health in response to the coronovirus outbreak.
Starting today, the county has suspended the issuance of all parking citations for the duration of the local state of emergency.
Access to offices at the Towson County Office Building has been restricted. Members of the general public will not be allowed beyond the lobby of each building.
Members of the public can drop off payments in designated lockboxes in these lobbies. For instance, for the Office of Budget and Finance, there’s a lockbox at the lobby of the Historic Courthouse, at 400 Washington Avenue in Towson.