Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday announced COVID-19 restriction compliance, education, and enforcement operations in Silver Spring and other nightlife hotspots around the state.
The announcement comes as a surge of COVID-19 cases intensifies in Maryland and across the country.
“I know that there is growing frustration that we are all still fighting this virus,” said Governor Hogan during yesterday’s press conference. “Many people are struggling emotionally and financially, and this is causing a great deal of stress for nearly everyone—but following the public health directives is the only way we will be able to stop this virus, keep Maryland open for business, and keep hospitals from overflowing.”
In addition to Maryland’s traditional efforts ramping up drunk driving patrols and enforcement ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the governor announced the launch of “all-hands-on-deck” compliance, education, and enforcement operations, including:
- The Maryland State Police (MSP) is expanding its COVID-19 Compliance and Coordination Center and deploying ‘High Visibility Compliance Units’ across the state.
- Additional state troopers will be assigned in every county to work in partnership with local leaders, law enforcement, and other county officials with a focus on educating the public about existing orders and protocols, preventing super-spreading events, and taking enforcement actions when necessary.
- These ‘High Visibility Compliance Units’ will be detailed to several downtown areas including Bel Air, Bethesda, Fells Point in Baltimore City, Salisbury, Silver Spring, Towson, and to Allegany County. In addition to bars and restaurants, the operation will focus on venues that host gatherings, including nightclubs and banquet halls.
- This statewide operation will kick off on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, and continue throughout the holiday season.
- Effective immediately, MSP will be operating a 24/7 phone line and email address specifically to support local compliance teams in the field with any questions regarding existing orders and enforcement.
- MSP is expanding its 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline, where members of the public can report unsafe facilities and activities or public health order violations. Marylanders who see unlawful behavior are encouraged to report it by emailing [email protected] or by calling (833) 979-2266.
The announcement comes on the same day that Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich called for a return to Phase 1 of COVID-19 restrictions: “Need to go back to Phase 1. We’re in danger of overwhelming hospitals, the projections for MD aren’t good — small steps won’t bend the curve in the right direction. We need the new Admin to get real assistance to businesses that bear this load. It’s not blue or red, it’s all of us.”
Need to go back to Phase 1. We're in danger of overwhelming hospitals, the projections for MD aren't good -small steps won't bend the curve in the right direction. We need the new Admin to get real assistance to businesses that bear this load. It's not blue or red, it's all of us
— Marc Elrich (@Marc_Elrich) November 23, 2020
Graphic courtesy The Office of Governor Larry Hogan