@BryanRenbaum

Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday ordered Marylanders to stay at home unless they are going out for essential services such as buying food or medicine, or seeing a doctor. Hogan said the order will go into effect at 8 p.m. EDT tonight. There were 1,413 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maryland as of Monday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health, while 16 Marylanders have died from the virus.

“This morning I have signed an executive order which institutes a stay-at-home directive. No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason — such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes,” the governor said at a morning news conference in Annapolis.

“In addition, only essential businesses are allowed to remain open in Maryland. And those businesses must also make every effort to scale down their operations in order to reduce the number of required staff, to limit in-person interaction with customers as much as they are able to — and to institute telework for as much of the workforce as is practical.”

Hogan announced the decision after relaying that some Marylanders are not adhering to social-distancing practices required under his previous executive orders. Hogan reiterated that Maryland residents should not travel outside the state unless the trip is of vital importance and that those who have done so should self-quarantine for two weeks. Hogan urged Marylanders to “reschedule all non-essential appointments of any kind.” Hogan reiterated that Marylanders should not use public transportation “unless they are essential personnel or unless that travel is absolutely necessary.”

Hogan issued a warning to those who violate his latest executive order.

“Today’s order states that any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.”

News of the order will be sent via emergency alert to “all cell phones and mobile devices in Maryland,” he said.

Hogan was asked to elaborate on the order.

“People are not locked in their homes. We’re just telling people that they need to stay in their homes except for essential and necessary things. So we want people who have to go out and get food — they need to get prescriptions — you should be able to get outside for your own physical and mental well-being and go for a walk and take your dog for a walk. You should not be going out with a crowd of 100 people congregating at a park somewhere.”

Hogan said that today drive-thru testing has begun at three motor vehicle emission inspection sites throughout the state. They are located in Glen Bernie, Waldorf and Bel Air, Hogan said. Also today, a testing and screening site has opened at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County, Hogan said. Testing and screening is free of charge but will be limited to those who have a doctor’s referral and an appointment, Hogan said.

Deputy Secretary of Health Fran Phillips elaborated on that point.

“This is for at-risk people with symptoms of the disease who will not be tested in emergency rooms or in crowded physicians’ offices. The point of these test sites is to pull people away from those health care facilities to spare the emergency rooms and to allow for testing at an alternative site. This is not for everyone. This is only for people either with a provider order for a test or an appointment. These are for people with symptoms as well as being in certain age or other priority groups.”

Hogan, who is chair of the National Governors Association, said later this morning he will participate in a teleconference call with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other federal officials to discuss the crisis. Hogan said that this afternoon he will participate in a teleconference call with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee — a nonprofit organization that represents 500 businesses and other institutions throughout the Baltimore region — said that although Hogan’s order might present difficulties for businesses, it is nevertheless necessary.

“While Governor Hogan’s Stay-At-Home Executive Order may create more hardship for businesses, employers and employees, it is meant to ensure that Maryland can respond aggressively to the COVID-19 pandemic and enable us bounce back when the crisis subsides,” Fry said in a statement.

“Many businesses have fully transitioned to telework and are doing all they can to keep their operations and the economy as strong and viable during these challenging times,” Fry added. “Taking steps to provide for a healthy workforce will help with the economic recovery once we are in a position to return to normal business operations.”