Governor Hogan Announces Major Actions To Protect Public Health, Limit Spread Of COVID-19 Pandemic

March 12, 2020

National Guard Activated; MEMA Activation Level Raised; Mass Gatherings Prohibited; Cruise Terminal at Port of Baltimore Closed

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan yesterday announced a series of major actions to protect public health and safety and limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland. Yesterday, the state reported its first case of community transmission.

“This problem continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” said Governor Hogan. “For Marylanders, the actions I have announced here today will be disruptive to your everyday lives. They may seem extreme, and they may sound frightening. But they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.”

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Governor Hogan Announces Major Steps in COVID-19 Response

“It is impossible at this time to know how long this threat will continue,” the governor continued. “What I do know is that my first and highest priority is protecting the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland. We are all in this together, and we cannot stop the spread of this virus without each and every one of you doing your part. But I want you all to know that we will get through this together. Our state has already faced and overcome daunting challenges before, and we will do so again.”

Below is a comprehensive list of the actions announced yesterday:

RAISING MEMA ACTIVATION LEVEL TO FULL: Governor Hogan raised the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) activation level to full, meaning that the State Emergency Operations Center is now operating at its highest level and that there will be full coordination of state response activities and resources.

ACTIVATION OF NATIONAL GUARD: The governor directed the National Guard to move to a higher state of readiness in order to carry out any necessary emergency functions, such as food distribution or other critical areas of need. Read the executive order.

PROHIBITION ON MASS GATHERINGS AND CLOSURE OF SENIOR CENTERS: Effective immediately, gatherings of more than 250 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited at all locations and venues. Read the executive order.

Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.

All senior citizen activities centers shall be closed beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020 until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.

CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS: Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Superintendent Karen Salmon is directing that beginning on Monday, March 16, all schools throughout Maryland will close through Friday, March 27, 2020. Read the MSDE press release.

During the time of school closure, all school buildings and school buses should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school. MSDE is additionally recommending that days previously scheduled for school closure during spring break be used as days off during this identified timeframe.

Administrators, faculty, staff, and parents/guardians should begin to immediately prepare for and implement measures for the continuity of educational services during a prolonged period of school closure.