Activates Field Hospital at Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel Establishes Pilot Assessment Location at FedEx Field Laurel Hospital to Reopen as Part of Hospital Surge Plan Issues Emergency Order to Prohibit Price Gouging Signs Directive to Bring More Testing Capacity Online
Governor Larry Hogan today ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and announced a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor again urged Marylanders to help their neighbors by staying home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We are telling all Marylanders to follow all of the directives and to follow the state law against crowds of more than ten people,” said Governor Hogan. “And we are telling you, unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, stay in your home. Today’s actions of closing non-essential businesses are absolutely necessary to protect the health of Marylanders and to save lives.”
COVID-19 Update March 23, 2020
“To my fellow Marylanders, let me say that I know how difficult this is on each and every one of you,” continued the governor. “There is a great deal of fear and anxiety, and the truth is, none of us really know how bad this is going to get or how long it’s going to last. But I can promise you that there are a great many dedicated people doing tremendous things, working around the clock, and doing their very best to help keep Marylanders safe.”
Below is a list of the comprehensive actions Governor Hogan announced today:
CLOSURE OF ALL NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state, effective at 5 pm today.
In addition to what is already closed by prior orders, this order requires the closure of anything that is not included in the new federal guidelines for critical infrastructure sectors. Interpretive Guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel.
While this is not a shelter-in-place order, all Marylanders are urged to remain home and adhere to the governor’s guidance for social distancing. The governor announced that beginning today, further enforcement actions will be taken to disperse any gatherings in violation of the governor’s orders.
ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE: Governor Hogan announced more than $175 million to assist small businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information and resources about these programs is available at businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. A $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000. Additional eligibility requirements can be found here.
Maryland Commerce is also working on creating a $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry.
The Department also has a number of existing financing programs, like Advantage Maryland, which provides conditional loans for new businesses or business expansions; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority and Fund (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged businesses; and the Non-Profit Interest-Free Micro-Bridge Loan Program, which provides loans to nonprofits to support ongoing operating costs while waiting on a future government grant or contract. A total of about $40 million is available through these existing programs.
Governor Hogan has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. A total of $7 million in funds will be available to provide flexible rapid response services to proactively support businesses and workers undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19. Funding can help Maryland’s workforce adhere to social distancing policies by purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, providing on-site cleaning and sanitation services at businesses that have workers delivering essential services, and implementing other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures in the business community.
AN ORDER TO PROHIBIT PRICE GOUGING: Governor Hogan has signed an emergency order to protect families from price gouging on everyday household items and essentials. Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis for profit or personal gain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Read the emergency order.
FIELD HOSPITAL AT BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER: As part of the state’s hospital surge plan, Governor Hogan has ordered the establishment of an Alternate Care site at Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel. This will be a joint partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and Johns Hopkins. The governor has asked FEMA to deliver 250 beds and 50 bed packages to support the initiative.
REOPENING OF LAUREL HOSPITAL: As part of the state’s hospital surge plan, UMMS has agreed to reopen Laurel Hospital, which will make another 135 beds available.
PILOT ASSESSMENT LOCATION AT FEDEX FIELD: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Department of Health to collaborate with Prince George’s County and UMMS on a pilot assessment location at FedEx Field in Landover.
FAST-TRACK PROCESS FOR TESTS: The governor has enacted an emergency order to authorize a fast-track process to bring more testing capacity online without FDA approval—dramatically shortening a process that would ordinarily take several months. Read the governor’s order.
NEW HEALTH TESTING ORDERS: The Maryland Department of Health is issuing an order requiring health care providers to prioritize tests for hospitalized and chronic care patients, symptomatic first responders, and symptomatic nursing home patients; and requiring all health care facilities to cease elective or non-urgent medical procedures at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Read the Health Department’s order.
State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has 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 coronavirus.maryland.gov.