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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Ian Round1:20 pmMar 23, 20200

Hogan orders “non-essential” businesses to shut down

Governor expands emergency grants and loans for small businesses as the number of known COVID-19 cases in Maryland grows to 288

Above: Gov. Larry Hogan announces his latest steps to stem the spread of COVID-19. (@GOVLarryHogan)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced an executive order Monday morning ordering the closure of all non-essential businesses at 5 p.m.

Many businesses will remain open and people may still go outside, but Hogan’s order expands the list of businesses that must close. He also announced millions of dollars will be available in loans and grants to small businesses to meet payroll, pay rent and perform other functions.

“Let me be clear: we are not issuing or ordering a shelter in place directive or forcing people to stay home,” the Republican governor said. “However, we are telling all Marylanders to follow all directives we’ve already issued and to follow state law against crowds of over 10 people.”

Golf courses and door-to-door solicitation are among the affected businesses, according to guidance from the governor.

List of Exempted Businesses

Mike Ricci, Hogan’s top spokesman, answered a question many on Twitter asked. “Fear not: liquor stores in Maryland may remain OPEN,” he tweeted.

In addition to liquor stores, other establishments and organizations that can stay open after 5 p.m. today include:

• Distilleries and wineries.
• Carry-out, delivery and drive-through restaurants.
• Pet supply stores, vet hospitals and kennels.
• Companies “that manufacture or support the manufacture of paper products.”
• Grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, truck stops, auto supply and repair shops, farms and food manufacturers.
• Hotels, laundromats, dry cleaners, self-storage facilities, commercial and residential construction companies.
• Broadcasting stations, cable TV companies, internet service providers.
• Hospitals, health care clinics and providers, pharmacies, senior living facilities, funeral homes and crematoriums.
• Medical marijuana growers, processors and dispensers.
• Roofers, landscapers, janitorial firms, plumbers, electricians and arborists.
• Lawyers, law firms, court reporters, bail bondsmen.
• All commercial transportation operators and suppliers.
• Pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers, medical equipment makers.
• Defense contractors, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire and rescue services, private ambulance companies.
• Banks, credit unions, insurance companies, investment companies, accounting and bookkeeping firms.

More Testing

Hogan urged Marylanders to follow last week’s orders prohibiting large gatherings.

“I saw pictures that just make your toes curl,” he said of photos of parties in New Orleans. “You are literally endangering the lives of your family, your friends and your fellow citizens.”

The Maryland Department of Health knows of 288 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Monday morning, the bulk of them in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

There are 31 known cases in Baltimore City and 35 in Baltimore County.

“We don’t take any of these steps, and hundreds of thousands, millions of people are going to die.”  – Gov. Larry Hogan.

Hogan said the state has been ramping up testing, from 50 tests per day to 250 to 500. Still, the state is not releasing the total number of tests conducted.

“You’re seeing more numbers because we’re testing more people,” Hogan said.

To Save Lives

Hogan said he’s been in regular touch with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the governors of other states. He said he’s been urging Congress to pass a strong stimulus package and to give more money to the states, where leaders are closer to the front lines of the pandemic.

“We need Congress to work together to support our efforts,” he said. “This is no time for partisan dysfunction.”

Hogan also signed an executive order protecting families from price gouging on essential supplies.

“Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis for profit and gain will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Hogan said.

Hogan understands the economic impact the virus is causing to the state, but he said the closures are necessary to prevent death.

“We don’t take any of these steps, and hundreds of thousands, millions of people are going to die,” he said. “We do take these steps, and hundreds of thousands or millions of people are going to be hurt economically.”

“I can assure you that these actions, while incredibly difficult financially, will save the lives of thousands of your fellow Marylanders,” he said. “We will have your backs in the weeks ahead and we will do everything we can to help you get back on your feet.”

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