Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statewide “stay at home” order Monday — sounding the alarm for residents to further curtail their daily lives to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
“Every Marylander can be a hero, just by staying home,” Hogan, a Republican, said in a news conference outside the State House in Annapolis.
Maryland residents were already under severe restrictions, with schools, colleges, sit-down restaurants, malls, casinos, gyms, theaters and nonessential businesses ordered closed over the past few weeks. And the governor previously had banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
Here’s what the order, which goes into effect Monday at 8 p.m., means for state residents.
You can only go out for “essential activities."
Those are defined as caring for yourself and your household, including pets and livestock. It’s OK to go to the grocery store and to get household supplies “needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home.”
You also can go out for health reasons, such as medical treatment and getting medication.
While some home improvement and big-box stores remain open, now is not the time for redecorating, Hogan said.
“You shouldn’t be out shopping for new carpets or cabinets or go buying furniture or clothing," he said. Shopping trips should be limited to necessary goods and items for urgent repairs, he said.
Liquor stores remain open. However, Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci urged people to consider alternatives.
“Liquor stores remain open, BUT this is why the governor authorized carryout and delivery of alcohol, to avoid going into the stores as much as possible,” Ricci tweeted.
Some people can still go to work.
The order allows people to go to work — if it’s at an essential business that’s still open. Last week, Hogan ordered nonessential businesses to close.
He asked even essential businesses Monday to “scale down” their operations as much as possible.
Owners of nonessential businesses that are closed can go to and from their workplace “for the purpose of engaging in minimal operations,” according to the order. That covers tasks such as maintaining a property, facilitating telecommuting, processing payroll and caring for animals at a business.
Stores and businesses that are nonessential can no longer offer curbside pickup of goods. They can offer delivery service, provided they follow health guidelines.
Campgrounds must close, with an exception only for people living in recreational vehicles who have no other place to go.
It’s OK to go out to exercise, within reason.
If you’re going to go out for a walk, run or bike ride, you must comply with social distancing directives to keep at least 6 feet from other people and not to congregate in groups. You should only go out with members of your immediate household.
“Only take a walk by yourself or with the people you live with for a very short period of time,” Fran Phillips, the state’s deputy health secretary, said Monday.
Hogan said: “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 in a park somewhere.”
The beaches at state parks were closed over the weekend, along with picnic shelters, playgrounds and visitor centers. Baltimore City parks workers removed basketball rims and tennis nets to discourage players.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said his county’s parks would remain open for outdoor exercise only. “You can jog, bike, hike, or walk your dog ... but we are closing restrooms, basketball courts & dog parks,” Pittman tweeted Monday.
Howard County, which already closed playgrounds at its parks, announced Monday it would close courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis and pickleball, as well as skate parks and disc golf courses.
Parents can pick up meals or supplies from schools.
The order includes a provision allowing for travel to schools “for purposes of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning.”
Maryland has set up hundreds of locations around the state where meals are provided to children. They will remain open.
Don’t go on a road trip.
Hogan asked Marylanders not to travel out of state unless it is “absolutely necessary.” Anyone who returns to Maryland from another state is asked to self-quarantine at home for two weeks, Hogan said.
“We encourage not just businesses, but families and friends, to make every effort to use remote forms of communication to limit person-to-person contact,” he said.
It is not illegal, however, to go for a drive.
Violating the order is a criminal offense.
If you’re caught violating this executive order, you could face penalties of up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Maryland State Police and city and county law enforcement officers enforce the orders.
Over the weekend, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office charged a man with two counts of violating the order that banned gatherings of more than 10 people, after they had reports he hosted a bonfire with 60 guests.
And on Monday, a Lutherville man was charged with hosting a party of 10 teenage guests at a Carroll County hotel.