March 12, 2020
National Guard Activated; MEMA Activation Level Raised; Mass Gatherings Prohibited; Cruise Terminal at Port of Baltimore Closed
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan yesterday announced a series of major actions to protect public health and safety and limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland. Yesterday, the state reported its first case of community transmission.
“This problem continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” said Governor Hogan. “For Marylanders, the actions I have announced here today will be disruptive to your everyday lives. They may seem extreme, and they may sound frightening. But they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.”
Governor Hogan Announces Major Steps in COVID-19 Response
“It is impossible at this time to know how long this threat will continue,” the governor continued. “What I do know is that my first and highest priority is protecting the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland. We are all in this together, and we cannot stop the spread of this virus without each and every one of you doing your part. But I want you all to know that we will get through this together. Our state has already faced and overcome daunting challenges before, and we will do so again.”
Below is a comprehensive list of the actions announced yesterday:
RAISING MEMA ACTIVATION LEVEL TO FULL: Governor Hogan raised the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) activation level to full, meaning that the State Emergency Operations Center is now operating at its highest level and that there will be full coordination of state response activities and resources.
ACTIVATION OF NATIONAL GUARD: The governor directed the National Guard to move to a higher state of readiness in order to carry out any necessary emergency functions, such as food distribution or other critical areas of need. Read the executive order.
PROHIBITION ON MASS GATHERINGS AND CLOSURE OF SENIOR CENTERS: Effective immediately, gatherings of more than 250 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited at all locations and venues. Read the executive order.
Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.
All senior citizen activities centers shall be closed beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020 until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.
CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS: Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Superintendent Karen Salmon is directing that beginning on Monday, March 16, all schools throughout Maryland will close through Friday, March 27, 2020. Read the MSDE press release.
During the time of school closure, all school buildings and school buses should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school. MSDE is additionally recommending that days previously scheduled for school closure during spring break be used as days off during this identified timeframe.
Administrators, faculty, staff, and parents/guardians should begin to immediately prepare for and implement measures for the continuity of educational services during a prolonged period of school closure.
Plans regarding childcare services are being developed by MSDE at this time to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to childcare throughout a prolonged period of school closure.
CLOSURE OF CRUISE TERMINAL AT PORT OF BALTIMORE: No passenger or crew member will be allowed to disembark at any terminal at the Port of Baltimore from any passenger vessel that has made a call at port outside of the United States since January 31, 2020. Read the executive order.
The only exceptions to this order are the Carnival Pride and the RCL Grandeur of the Seas, which are due to return to port in the coming days, provided that no person on board such vessel has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or is under investigation for COVID-19.
Except as necessary to perform a duty required by law, no person shall board any covered passenger vessel at any terminal or port facility in the ports and harbors of the state.
Each owner of a terminal or port facility in the state that receives cargo vessels shall develop and implement procedures for screening and controlling the movement of crew members who desire to disembark from cargo vessels that have, since January 31, 2020, made a call at any port outside the United States.
EXTENSION OF PERMITTING DEADLINES: Because renewing expiring permits or licenses often requires the public to enter public buildings and interact with state employees; all licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations issued by the state, its agencies or any political subdivision that would expire during the current state of emergency will be extended until the 30th day after the state of emergency is lifted. Read the executive order.
GUIDANCE TO HOSPITALS FOR VISITATION POLICIES: The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is advising hospitals to adopt new procedures to limit visitation, including:
No one under the age of 18 is permitted to visit, including in all waiting areas and common spaces.
Only one adult visitor per patient in all areas of the hospital.
Visitors should be screened for flu-like symptoms.
Visitors who have traveled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the United States.
SUSPENSION OF VISITS TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) is suspending all visits to its correctional facilities effective immediately. The department will provide free phone calls and video visitation for inmates.
There have been no cases of coronavirus in our correctional facilities.
At this time, facility programming will continue on a case-by-case basis.
DPSCS will re-evaluate the situation often in an effort to restore normal visits as soon as possible.
MANDATORY TELEWORK FOR NON-ESSENTIAL STATE EMPLOYEES: Governor Hogan is directing the Department of Budget and Management to implement a period of mandatory telework, beginning Friday, March 13, across state agencies for all non-essential state employees. Read the executive order here. Read the Department of Budget and Management’s guidance here.
DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF STATE GOVERNMENT: As he continues to manage the crisis, Governor Hogan is delegating the day-to-day operations of state government to Lt. Governor Rutherford.
STATE OF EMERGENCY: This week, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.