Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What does a mandatory Stay at Home order mean in Maryland?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took a somewhat stern tone in announcing his mandatory Stay at Home order Monday morning, frustrated with ongoing violations of his earlier advisory Stay at Home policy. There was confusion among some in the following hours about exactly what the order means. For most people, it means very little change to what you've already been doing. The key change is that the order can now be enforced by police, and gratuitous violations could earn you a fine or jail time.

Under the order, you may leave your home for essential travel to buy groceries, fill up your gas tank or seek auto repairs, shop at drug stores or liquor stores, travel to your job like you've been doing if it was classified as essential (or otherwise, telework, if that's possible), visit another home or property you own - i.e. to check on utilities, travel to care for a relative or friend in need, and go outside for fresh air, exercise, and walking or running as long as you keep six feet away from other people.

Hogan ordered a text alert to be sent to all devices capable of receiving one in the state. The alert went our successfully at 3:00 PM Monday afternoon. This was a very effective move to get the public's attention and reinforce the seriousness of the situation. The point on gatherings could have been clarified a bit better. You really should not be engaging in any group activities of ten people at this time if you are serious about protecting yourself and others from contracting coronavirus! That is nuts. Social distancing would be expected if such an event were to be held, however.

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