Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that though he and his team are monitoring the latest coronavirus metrics, they are not implementing new statewide restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as of yet.
At a Thursday afternoon news briefing, Hogan said Maryland remains in a better position than many other states, but that it is clear that there has been a post-Thanksgiving surge and “that the worst days of the pandemic are still ahead of us.”
All 24 jurisdictions in Maryland are in the red zone for infection and spread of the virus, according to Hogan, and around 88% of acute beds are in use in hospitals.
Other counties in Maryland have already started announcing new restrictions as case counts rise across the state.
On Wednesday, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he proposed new restrictions that would go into effect Tuesday, Dec. 15 if approved by the county council, including a temporary pause to indoor dining and capacity cuts in retail establishments.
On Thursday, both Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties also announced plans for new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Both counties have barred indoor dining amid the surge, as contact tracing efforts have identified these establishments as having a higher rate of transmission than other businesses.
Anne Arundel County went even further and barred outdoor dining as well over the next four weeks. Restaurants there will be limited to takeout, delivery and curbside pickup.
Restrictions for both counties will go into effect on Wednesday, Dec. 16, and will last until January 2021 unless modified by county executives.
Hogan criticized Congress’ delay in getting another round of stimulus money to Americans, saying, “Congress continues to fail at the one thing we have asked them to do for the past eight months.”
Hogan said he recently spoke with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leaders about finding an agreement on relief, even if that bill would only provide a few months worth of aid.
On Thursday, Hogan signed a bill to help Maryland businesses avoid paying high unemployment taxes as a result of layoffs stemming from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he also directed the Maryland Department of Commerce to forgive the $75 million in emergency business loans taken out by businesses during the pandemic. He said those loans will be converted to grants.
Hogan warned Marylanders to remain vigilant over the holidays, as gatherings in private residences currently account for the highest amount of spread of the coronavirus.
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