With now 37 cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered bars, restaurants, movie theatres and gyms closed effective 5 p.m. Today, Monday, March 16.
The order is to maximize the social distancing needed to reduce the spread of infection an comes on the heels of a previous order that closed racetracks, simulcast betting facilities and casinos.
In an 11 a.m press conference outside the State House on Monday, Hogan said it would be a crime for any business not to comply.
“These emergency orders carry the full force of the law and will be strictly enforced…we are not fooling around anymore,” Hogan said.
Hogan has called up a total of 1,000 National Guardsman since the state of emergency began and an additional 1,200 are in reserve.
The order activates the all volunteer Maryland Medical Reserve Corp and increases hospital bed capacity by 6,000.
Under the order, grocery stores, food delivery services, pharmacies, banks and gas stations will remain open.
The order also prohibits utility providers from disconnecting water, power, phone, cable and Internet services during the state of emergency.