ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urged the public to stay diligent and stay home during the holidays this year in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.
On Thursday evening, Hogan announced during a press conference held in Annapolis a new emergency order that requires limiting travel to essential purposes only. Hogan says Marylanders who travel out of state or those who travel to Maryland must obtain a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantine for 10 days.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Department of Health issued a public health advisory that lowers the gathering limit from 25 to 10 and advises state residents against all non-essential activities and holiday gatherings with people outside of their immediate household.
Both are effective immediately.
"Our strongest defense against this virus continues to be the cooperation and the vigilance of the people of Maryland," said Hogan. "Our message today is simple: you are safer at home for the holidays this year."
Hogan also issued a special emergency order that exempts Santa Claus, his elves, and his reindeer from any and all travel, testing, and quarantine requirements this Christmas.
During this evening's press conference, Hogan also announced an additional $180 million in immediate emergency economic relief to help those families and small businesses that are being hit the hardest during the pandemic.
The governor also pledged to propose a larger economic relief package when the General Assembly returns for the 2021 session.
Later, Hogan issued an emergency order to extend the state's moratorium on foreclosures to January 31, 2021, which is in line with the CARES Act.
Earlier today, the governor announced that Christmas Eve will be a state holiday.