No arrests so far as Maryland State Police enforce COVID-19 rules

It appears most people are following the state’s COVID-19 rules after Maryland State Police checked hundreds of businesses Wednesday as part of stepped up enforcement of pandemic-related restrictions.

After highly visible patrols took to popular areas for diners and drinkers, and some 730 businesses across the state were checked, no charges were filed and no arrests were made, Maryland State Police said Thursday.

Wednesday marked the first day that extra state troopers in every county were placed on COVID-19 details. The ramped up patrols come after Gov. Larry Hogan announced part of the reason for the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Maryland could be traced to some people and businesses not following restrictions put in place by state health officials.

State troopers did give out fewer than 10 warnings to some people inside businesses who were not wearing a face mask or socially distancing.

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“During the overwhelming majority of checks made, troopers found businesses and customers in compliance with requirements for face coverings, social distancing and closing times,” state police said in a news release Thursday.

“These important safety measures and public health order are only effective if they’re being followed and enforced,” Hogan said at a press conference Monday.

The Maryland Department of Health announced that the state saw an additional 2,319 confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday. The state has also seen a lot of testing taking place, with Wednesday seeing 41,000 more tests than was seen the previous day.

This week, a hotline and email where people who see violations could call in a tip to authorities was also announced. Over the past 24 hours, Maryland State Police said more than 200 calls and emails came in.

Ahead of Thanksgiving Day, Maryland also chose to send out an emergency alert, reminding people in the state to follow COVID-19 restrictions.

State troopers did report one familiar scenario that plays out more around the holidays: eight traffic crashes, including three in Harford County, two in Cecil County and one each in Carroll, Garrett and Anne Arundel counties, all involved suspected impaired drivers. In the past 24 hours, state police arrested 16 people believed to have been driving under the influence.

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