ANNAPOLIS, MD—Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and with the new surge of COVID-19 intensifying in Maryland and across the nation, Governor Larry Hogan today announced the launch of a wide-scale compliance, education, and enforcement operation to slow the spread of the virus and keep Maryland safely open for business.
“I know that there is growing frustration that we are all still fighting this virus,” said Governor Hogan. “Many people are struggling emotionally and financially, and this is causing a great deal of stress for nearly everyone—but following the public health directives is the only way we will be able to stop this virus, keep Maryland open for business, and keep hospitals from overflowing.”
The governor was joined by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr., Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones, and Marshall Weston, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
“This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this deadly disease. Lives are on the line and we will continue doing whatever is necessary to protect the public,” said County Executive Olszewski. “We’re urging Marylanders to do the right thing this Thanksgiving by limiting contacts, following all state and local health orders, and wearing your mask.”
Statewide Compliance, Education, and Enforcement Operation. In addition to the state’s traditional efforts ramping up drunk driving patrols and enforcement ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the governor announced the launch of an all-hands-on-deck compliance, education, and enforcement operation.
- The Maryland State Police (MSP) is expanding its COVID-19 Compliance and Coordination Center and deploying ‘High Visibility Compliance Units’ across the state.
- Additional state troopers will be assigned in every county to work in partnership with local leaders, law enforcement, and other county officials with a focus on educating the public about existing orders and protocols, preventing super-spreading events, and taking enforcement actions when necessary.
- These ‘High Visibility Compliance Units’ will be detailed to several downtown areas including Bel Air, Bethesda, Fells Point in Baltimore City, Salisbury, Silver Spring, Towson, and to Allegany County. In addition to bars and restaurants, the operation will focus on venues that host gatherings, including nightclubs and banquet halls.
- This statewide operation will kick off on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, and continue throughout the holiday season.
Support for Local Compliance Teams. Effective immediately, MSP will be operating a 24/7 phone line and email address specifically to support local compliance teams in the field with any questions regarding existing orders and enforcement.
24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline. MSP is expanding its 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline, where members of the public can report unsafe facilities and activities or public health order violations. Marylanders who see unlawful behavior are encouraged to report it by emailing Prevent.Covid@maryland.gov or by calling (833) 979-2266.
Statewide Wireless Emergency Alert. On Wednesday, November 25 at approximately 5 p.m., the Maryland Emergency Management Agency will send a wireless emergency alert to cell phones statewide to remind Marylanders of critical COVID-19 prevention measures and provide information regarding state and local law enforcement actions. This will be only the second use of this technology by the Hogan administration, following the March 31 alert informing residents of new Stay at Home guidance during the spring COVID-19 surge.
New Unified Public Health Campaign. Governor Hogan announced a new unified statewide public health campaign beginning this week, with a public service announcement on radio, television, and social media to remind Marylanders to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Holiday Guidance. Governor Hogan reiterated federal and state public health guidance advising against holiday travel, and strongly recommending that families celebrate only with members of their immediate household. Read the holiday guidance here.