The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has put out the following “Interim Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” on March 15th:

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populationshand hygiene, and social distancing.  When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.  This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.

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What could this mean for Maryland and even Howard County? Well you could see the Governor or the County Executive implement further restrictions that have been put in place in other areas…like the following to name a few:

Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced Sunday he has ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to shut down service beginning at 9 p.m. this evening.

On Sunday, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker ordered bars and restaurants in the state to close from March 16 to March 30.

Boston mayor Marty Walsh ordered bars, restaurants and clubs to cut their capacity in half by removing tables and chairs to encourage social distancing, said beer gardens cannot open until the crisis passes, and said lines should not form outside

Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser also announced a series of protocols restaurants and bars must follow, including limiting service to tables of six peoples or less, ensuring patrons are seated at least six feet apart at tables and booths, and ordering nightclubs and multi-purpose facilities to suspend operations.

On Sunday evening, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the near-complete closure of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, and gyms in the city until at least March 31. Restaurants will allowed to continue offering takeout and delivery.

Yesterday Governor Hogan put out the following message on Facebook:

It is critical to public health and safety that bars, restaurants, and other businesses across the state comply with the law. Anyone who hosts or is part of the crowds in bars this weekend is jeopardizing the health of others and must avoid any contact with family members or friends over the age of 60 or those with underlying health conditions.

We have already seen the closure of schools across the state, the closure of casinos and racetracks, locally the closure of the mall and movie theaters. I would keep a close eye on this in the coming days. The guidance from the CDC could change a great number of things for many areas in the US…including right here in Maryland.

Scott E