Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Monday announced the launch of a compliance, education, and enforcement operation aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
The operation will have more of a focus on enforcement than efforts in neighboring Delaware. While enforcement actions have been taken in the First State, the effort has been relatively low key.
Last week, Delaware Gov. John Carney did order a reduction of dining capacity from 60 percent to 30 percent. He stopped short of Hogans’s order that closes bars and restaurants at 10 p.m.
“I know that there is growing frustration that we are all still fighting this virus,” said Hogan. “Many people are struggling emotionally and financially, and this is causing a great deal of stress for nearly everyone—but following the public health directives is the only way we will be able to stop this virus, keep Maryland open for business, and keep hospitals from overflowing.”
“This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this deadly disease. Lives are on the line and we will continue doing whatever is necessary to protect the public,” said County Executive Olszewski. “We’re urging Marylanders to do the right thing this Thanksgiving by limiting contacts, following all state and local health orders, and wearing your mask.”
In addition to the state’s traditional efforts ramping up drunk driving patrols and enforcement ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the governor announced the launch what was described as “an all-hands-on-deck compliance, education, and enforcement operation.”
- The Maryland State Police (MSP) is expanding its COVID-19 Compliance and Coordination Center and deploying “High Visibility Compliance Units” across the state.
- Additional state troopers will be assigned in every county to work in partnership with local leaders, law enforcement, and other county officials with a focus on educating the public about existing orders and protocols, preventing super-spreading events, and taking enforcement actions when necessary.
- These ‘High Visibility Compliance Units’ will be assigned to several downtown areas including Bel Air, Bethesda, Fells Point in Baltimore City, Salisbury, Silver Spring, Towson, and Allegany County in the western part of the state. In addition to bars and restaurants, the operation will focus on venues that host gatherings, including nightclubs and banquet halls.
- This statewide operation will kick off on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, and continue throughout the holiday season.
Effective immediately, State Police will operate a 24/7 phone line and email address specifically to support local compliance teams in the field with any questions regarding existing orders and enforcement.
State Police are expanding their 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline, where members of the public can report unsafe facilities and activities or public health order violations. Marylanders who see unlawful behavior are encouraged to report it by emailing Prevent.Covid@maryland.gov or by calling (833) 979-2266.
Other steps include an emergency alert to provide information on prevention measurements a public service campaign and holiday guidance.