Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order directing Marylanders to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 emergency, effective at 8 p.m. tonight, March 30.

“I have signed an executive order which institutes a stay-at-home directive,” the governor announced during a press conference this morning. “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.”

The governor referred to “a rapidly escalating emergency situation” as he announced the new strictures on movements in the state.

“Just in the past week, the number of cases has increased by 397 percent,” Hogan said.

In the past two weeks, the governor had issued a series of orders limiting the businesses that could remain open and urging residents to remain at home, among other measures.

“Some people are still choosing to ignore those executive orders,” Hogan said. “Those individuals are endangering themselves and their fellow citizens. Anyone engaged in this type of reckless behavior is in violation of state law.”

Essential businesses will be allowed to continue to operate, though the governor directed them to do everything possible to trim staff and limit interactions with customers, among other measures such as telework “as much as is practical.”

In addition, no one should travel outside of the state unless absolutely necessary, he said, and anyone who has done so recently, or will, should self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning.

Anyone who “knowingly and willfully” violates the order may be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $5,000, or both, the governor said.

The state will send out an emergency wireless alert to all cell phones and mobile devices in Maryland informing residents of the new order.

Image from Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Mike Diegel