Md. Governor Larry Hogan issues new order and guidelines for COVID-19
MARYLAND – Maryland has reached a 5.24% COVID-19 positivity rate. Governor Larry Hogan says people are starting to let their guard down. So he’s taking steps to try and prevent any further spikes. “The warning lights were starting to blink on the dashboard. It appeared we were approaching a critical turning point in the fight. Today I’m reporting that we have now crossed over,” said Gov. Hogan.
Starting Wednesday, restaurants and bars must reduce their capacity from 75% to 50%. Plus, indoor gatherings over 25 people will be strongly discouraged. Gov. Hogan says the rising number of cases plus a lack of compliance make these new restrictions necessary. “We have instances of jam packed bars and restaurants when they have never been able to stand in a bar. You’re only allowed to sit. A lot of people are not following those rules,” said Gov. Hogan.
Governor Hogan also expanded the out of state travel advisory. Marylanders will now be encouraged not to travel over state lines to states with a postivity rate over 10%. If they do travel over state lines, they must get tested and self quarantine while awaiting results when they come back.
Plus, government employees will now have to begin a mandatory period of telework. Private businesses are encouraged to cut down on the number of employees working in person. “It’s easy to feel comfortable thinking that just because you haven’t engaged in any of these activities that we typically think of as high risk that it’s enough to think it’s safe,” said Gov. Hogan.
State health officials are also issuing new safety guidelines for nursing homes, and encouraging them to stock up on personal protective equipment. Hospitals are also now required to implement surge plans. “Hospitals should be optimizing the use of staff and space to ensure they’re prepared for the predicted increase in COVID-19 patients,” said Executive Director of Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems Dr. Theodore Delbridge.
Governor Hogan also said that his administration will increase teleconferences with local leaders to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
To read the governor’s order, click here. Click here for the public health advisory for gatherings. For more information on the hospital surge planning, click here. Click here for guidance issued to nursing homes.