Here are the highlights from the press conference today from Mike Ricci (Communications Director for Governor Hogan) via tweets:
1. Governor Hogan is ordering the closure of all non-essential businesses effective at 5pm TODAY.
1a. This is NOT a shelter-in-place order. However, we are URGING Marylanders to STAY HOME as much as possible. If you don’t need to leave your neighborhood, you should not leave your neighborhood.
2. Governor Hogan is announcing a $175 MILLION+ economic relief package for Maryland small businesses and workers.
2a. The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
2b. This includes a $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs.
3a. Governor Hogan has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund.
3b. 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.
4. Governor Hogan has signed an emergency order to protect families from price gouging on everyday household items and essentials. Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
5. HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENTS: As part of our hospital surge plan, Governor Hogan has ordered the establishment of an Alternate Care site at Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel. This will be a joint partnership in collaboration with UMMS and Hopkins.
5a. The governor has asked FEMA to deliver 250 beds and 50 bed packages to support the initiative.
6. As part of the governor’s hospital surge plan, the University of Maryland Medical System has agreed to reopen Laurel Hospital, which will make another 135 beds available.
7. Governor Hogan 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.
8. The governor has enacted an emergency order to authorize a fast-track process to bring more testing capacity online without FDA approval–dramatically shortening a process that would ordinarily take several months.
9. The @MDHealthDept is issuing an order requiring health care providers to prioritize tests for hospitalized and chronic care patients, symptomatic first responders, and symptomatic nursing home patients.
9. The governor closes by thanking the Marylanders who have done their part to slow the spread of this pandemic, including those who have lent a hand, donated blood, and especially those who have listened to our guidance and stayed home. #MarylandUnites
Also read closely the interpretive guidance from our Office of Legal Counsel: https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf