Maryland Governor Larry Hogan escalated the state’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak Monday, issuing a “stay-at-home” order that goes into effect at 8 p.m. The policy mandates that residents only leave their houses for essential reasons: obtaining food, essentials, or medical attention. Public transportation in the state will close, and travel outside the state is prohibited.
Restaurants will continue to run takeout and delivery. People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise as long as they practice social distancing. Violating the “stay-at-home” order by hosting gatherings will be punishable by a misdemeanor. A man in Charles County, Maryland, just south of the District, was charged with two counts Saturday after sheriffs were called to his property to break up a bonfire that drew around 60 people.
Maryland reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. The state had reported 15 coronavirus-related deaths. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which border Washington, had combined for more than 600 cases.
Two weeks earlier, on March 16, Hogan ordered all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms in the state to temporarily close. The measure ended dining out as an option for swaths of commuters and residents in D.C. suburbs in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Howard County, and beyond. The governor said he would deploy the state police and the National Guard to help enforce the order.
That order came a day after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared that all licensed nightclubs in the city would close, and restaurants would have to eliminate bar seating, stop serving standing customers, and maintain 6 feet of spacing between tables. The Centers for Disease Control on Sunday recommended that all mass gatherings adhere to a 50-person limit.
A week earlier, Hogan had ordered a two-week stop for public schools. The day before enforcing a dine-in ban, he closed racetracks and casinos, which shut down the MGM National Harbor, just outside city lines in Oxon Hill.