BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland is launching a COVID-19 compliance team to further enforce COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to surge in the state.
Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that besides family gatherings on Thanksgiving, the eve of the holiday is also typically a night for college students, hometown visitors to gather together at bars as people are catching up with old friends and family.
“I cannot emphasize how reckless that is,” Gov. Hogan said.
Beginning Thanksgiving Eve, these “high visibility compliance units” will be in popular downtown areas and Main Street areas including in Bel Air, Towson, Salisbury, Silver Spring and Baltimore City.
Maryland State Police will operate a 24/7 phone line and email address to support local compliance teams and help Marylanders with any questions on the state orders and restrictions as well as enforcement.
Marylanders who see unlawful behavior 833-979-2266 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The governor said these actions are not just about enforcement, but about educating businesses on how to stay open safely.
“We will be sending additional state police to every single county,” he added.
In a press conference Monday, Gov. Hogan was joined by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, Maryland State Police Superintendent Jerry Jones and Restaurant Association of Maryland President & CEO Marshall Weston. He again encouraged Marylanders to avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel and reiterated the importance of wearing masks.
“As COVID fatigue has set in, some individuals and businesses have started to become more lax,” he said.
57% complaints that have been registered have been about compliance issues at restaurants, bars and businesses, the governor added.
“We can’t let a few bad actors spoil it for the others who have been doing such a great job,” he said.
The state will also launch a public health PSA program, with the PSAs running on local television stations. MEMA will send a message to cell phones on Wednesday to remind people of COVID-19 protocols.
This comes just two days after Maryland recorded its second-highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
The state added 2,168 new cases Sunday as metrics overall continue to trend up, and Gov. Larry Hogan’s new COVID-19 restrictions went into effect Friday evening at 5 p.m.
You can watch the press conference on WJZ at 4 p.m. Monday on air or at WJZ.com
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.