Maryland closing 'non-essential' businesses today as state grapples with coronavirus
WASHINGTON - All non-essential businesses in Maryland will close as of 5 p.m. as the state works to combat the coronavirus, Governor Larry Hogan announced on Monday morning.
Maryland currently has 288 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus - while the DC region as a whole has hundreds more.
Hogan thanked residents who are respecting state guidelines regarding the crisis, but noted that "unfortunately, many people are not taking it seriously."
"If you are engaged in this kind of activity you are breaking the law and you are endangering the lives," Hogan said.
Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather
Hogan noted that he is not issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, but the state will take aggressive measures to enforce the measures being taken to slow the virus' spread.
"Beginning today even further enforcement actions will be taken to disperse these actions," he said.
"Today’s actions are absolutely necessary to save lives," the Governor added.
RELATED: What businesses are considered non-essential under Maryland's new exec order
Pharmacies, grocery stores, and medical facilities will remain open.
The governor also announced that the state is authorizing a $75 million loan fund, and a $50 million grant fund - with $1 million in grants being dedicated to non-profits.
Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000.
In addition, the governor has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund.
A total of $7 million in funds will be available to provide flexible rapid response services to proactively support businesses and workers undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
As part of a hospital surge plan, Hogan has ordered the establishment of an alternate care site at the Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel in partnership with Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical System.
The University of Maryland Medical System will also re-open Laurel Hospital, making another 135 beds available.
Finally, Hogan said he has directed the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Department of Health to collaborate with Prince George’s County and the University of Maryland Medical System on a pilot assessment location at FedEx Field in Landover.
On Monday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Gov. Hogan and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a joint statement following a conference call on the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full statement below:
“As leaders of the three jurisdictions of the National Capital Region, we carry a unique responsibility to keep the federal government operating. Our actions promote the health and safety of more than 360,000 federal workers who live and work across our three jurisdictions. No other region in the country bears this responsibility. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we call on the federal government to provide additional financial support to help our jurisdictions maintain the health and safety of the region and the federal workers who serve the American people.
“The COVID-19 virus knows neither borders nor boundaries – it does not recognize state or city lines. We are working closely together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Together, we are promoting social distancing and encouraging all of our residents to stay at home and avoid crowds and gatherings. In each of our jurisdictions, we will be enforcing crowd control measures and social distancing standards.
“We will continue to work together to keep our residents and the federal workforce as healthy and safe as possible in the coming weeks and months.”
LIVE: Interactive map tracks global spread of COVID-19
National Guard, DC police to block off access to Tidal Basin, according to Mayor Bowser
Maryland reports more than 50 new coronavirus cases, 3rd death
More than 400 confirmed coronavirus cases now reported in D.C. area