Maryland, Virginia Announce Stay-At-Home Order, More Orders, Extensions Expected
Annapolis, MD – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a “stay at home” order on Monday morning and appeared visibly angry as he explained that the latest executive order was necessary because too many people are not following the guidelines for social distancing.
“We’re cracking down on enforcement. This is the deadly public health crisis,” Hogan said. “We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so.”
The shelter-in-place order goes into effect at 8 p.m. on March 30 also applies to interstate travel, The Washington Post reported.
There is no end date attached to the stay at home order, and anyone entering the state must quarantine for 14 days.
“We are in this for weeks, if not months,” Maryland Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Fran Phillips told reporters. “This is a sustained effort by every one of us to battle this virus.”
Maryland had 1,413 positive cases of coronavirus as of Monday morning, and 15 residents have died, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.
Hogan was one of the first governors to close all non-essential businesses more than two weeks earlier, but the Republican governor had recently faced criticism for not ordering a shelter-in-place for the thousands of residents outside socializing in public spaces.
There was speculation that the “stay at home” order couldn’t be made until Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia had coordinated their plans, since many residents of all three commute across state lines multiple times daily.
That meant it was no surprise when Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced a “stay at home” order for his state just hours after Hogan declared for Maryland, The Washington Post reported.
Northam blamed the forced shelter-in-place on thousands of irresponsible people who were seen socializing in close proximity on the state’s beaches on Saturday and Sunday.
“Virginians, you need to stay at home,” Northam had said on Friday. “If you do not have to leave your home, you should not leave your home. … If you need air, walk around the block, remember social distancing, staying six feet apart. You need to stay at home. That is the only way that we can slow the spread of this virus time to build [hospital] capacity.”
The order goes into effect on March 30 and ends on June 10, The Washington Post reported.
“This is an unprecedented and difficult time,” Northam said. “And it will be hard for people.”
He said people gathered in groups of more than 10 people would be subject to being charged with a misdemeanor, The Washington Post reported.
Virginia has 1,020 positive cases of coronavirus and has suffered 25 fatalities, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.
Meanwhile, D.C. has still not declared a “stay at home” order for its residents despite a skyrocketing coronavirus pandemic and obvious problems with social distancing caused by thousands who flocked to the National Mall to view cherry blossoms over the weekend.
“We haven’t seen the peak of the spread of the infection in the District, we have not seen the peak of hospitalizations and sadly, likely, we have not seen the peak of the people who will succumb to the disease,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, told reporters on Monday, according to The Washington Post.
But she did not order residents to shelter-in place.
UPDATE: D.C. has now followed the states in issuing a stay-at-home order, according to NBC4.
The District of Columbia has 401 positive cases of coronavirus and nine people have died so far, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.
Hogan said that the national capital region – D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, which are frequently referred to as the “DMV” area – has more than 2,709 positive cases of coronavirus and 51 people have died.