Maryland has joined more than two dozen other states under a stay-at-home directive.
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) signed an executive order Monday morning directing all Marylanders to stay at home, unless they absolutely must travel for an essential job or essential reason, such as a medical appointment or to buy food.
All non-essential businesses should close and essential businesses should scale back in-person operations and implement telework for as much of their workforce as possible, Hogan said.
The stay-at-home order takes effect at 8 p.m. Monday.
Hogan made the announcement as the number of deaths from COVID-19 tripled over the weekend to 15, with 1,413 confirmed cases in the state, including the youngest Maryland patient to date: a 1-month-old infant.
“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,” Hogan said at a press conference on the Government House lawn.
Also over the weekend, the state announced a coronavirus outbreak at the Pleasant View nursing home in Mount Airy, where 67 residents have tested positive and 27 staff members are experiencing virus symptoms.
An emergency alert will be sent to all Marylanders on their cell phones to underscore the severity of the stay-at-home order, Hogan said.
It’s the latest in a series of executive orders by the governor to curtail large social gatherings in the state. Earlier this month, entertainment venues were closed, as were the dine-in areas of restaurants and bars.
Social gatherings have been limited to no more than 10 people.
Violating the stay-at-home order could result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“Anyone engaged in this 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,” Hogan said.
Marylanders should not travel outside of the state unless absolutely necessary, and all Marylanders who have recently traveled outside the region should self-quarantine for 14 days, Hogan said.
The full order is online.