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Press Box… « Governor's Office of Homeland Security

President Trump Declares National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

“As technology continues to progress and new kinds of threats arise around the world, cybersecurity is playing an increasingly central role in our national security and daily lives.  During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we recommit to ensuring our Nation’s cybersecurity, and we raise awareness of the responsibility all Americans have to protect their Internet-connected devices, technology, and networks from cyber threats at work, home, and school.”

Read President Trump’s full Proclamation: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2020/


Governor Hogan Announces Beginning of Stage Three of Maryland’s COVID-19 Recovery, Additional Safe and Gradual Reopenings

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that, based on the state’s improving health metrics, Maryland will begin to move into Stage Three of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ with additional safe and gradual reopenings. As with Stages One and Two, Stage Three will be implemented in multiple phases with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

“As we move into this third and final stage of our recovery, I want to sincerely thank our doctors, nurses, and public health officials, our small business community, and, most importantly, the people of Maryland who have pulled together over the last five months to respond to this unprecedented challenge with incredible courage and perseverance,” said Governor Hogan. “It is thanks to all of you that we have crushed the curve and saved lives, and that our state response to this global pandemic continues to serve as an example for the rest of the nation.”

STAGE THREE BEGINS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 AT 5:00 PM:

As part of the state’s initial entry into Stage Three, Governor Hogan announced the following additional safe and gradual reopenings:

  • INDOOR THEATERS. Indoor theaters where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
  • OUTDOOR VENUES. Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
  • RETAIL AND RELIGIOUS FACILITIES. Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.

Read the governor’s order.
Read reopening guidance for theaters.

MARYLAND PARTNERS WITH APPLE AND GOOGLE ON EXPOSURE NOTIFICATIONS EXPRESS. The governor announced today, in collaboration with Apple and Googlethat Maryland will be one of the first states to deploy a new exposure notification tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Exposure Notifications Express is designed to help public health officials more quickly and easily provide notifications for their residents about potential COVID-19 exposure and guide them on recommended actions. This new technology will be optional for users.

UPDATES ON SCHOOLS, YOUTH SPORTS, AND ELECTIONS

SCHOOLS. The governor thanked the State Board of Education for voting to require those school systems that have not developed a plan for returning any students for any in person instruction until 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter. Last week, the governor announced that, as a result of improved COVID-19 health metrics, every county school system in Maryland is authorized to begin safely reopening, but made clear that the legal authority and final decision making on safe openings rests with county boards of education. Guidance to support the safe reopening of schools can be found here.

YOUTH SPORTS. The governor reiterated that while counties may issue more restrictive rules, state health officials issued an order on June 12 allowing all youth sports gatherings and events to begin resuming. “County governments of course, by law, do have the power to be more restrictive, but it is the position of the State of Maryland that our young people should have the opportunity to play sports this fall, and we are encouraging local health officials to reassess their guidelines,” said Governor Hogan.

ELECTIONS. The governor noted that, as of today, and after asking them to immediately do so nearly eight weeks ago, the State Board of Elections has mailed out ballot applications to every Maryland voter. Marylanders are strongly encouraged to take advantage of voting by absentee ballot or to participate in early voting. Those who choose to vote in-person on Election Day are encouraged to do so at off-peak times to avoid long lines and crowds.

Additionally, through the recruiting efforts of the Hogan administration, more than 11,000 Marylanders have signed up to serve as election judges. The governor continues to urge local election boards to immediately contact and train these election judges and poll workers.

Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery for more information about the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’


Governor Hogan Announces Statewide Efforts to Prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias

ANNAPOLIS, MD—As the Eastern seaboard anticipates significant impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the State of Maryland has activated a government-wide response to prepare for severe conditions. A tropical storm warning is now in effect for most jurisdictions, in addition to several severe weather watches and warnings in effect statewide.

“Our state is taking every precaution to prepare for the effects of Tropical Storm Isaias—which could include heavy rain, damaging winds, and flash flooding—and I urge all Marylanders to do the same,” said Governor Hogan. “Stay tuned to your local news stations for the latest updates, listen to state and local authorities, and most importantly, plan and prepare.”

The storm is expected to make landfall tonight in the Carolinas as a hurricane. Marylanders can expect to feel effects from Isaias beginning tonight, but the greatest impacts are expected Tuesday. Heavy rain is expected in central and eastern Maryland, with as much as 5-7 inches of rainfall forecasted, and flash floods and tidal flooding are likely. Heavy winds could topple trees and cause power outages. A westward shift in the storm track could also create a greater impact in western Maryland.

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Marylanders are advised to take the following steps in preparation for severe weather:

  • Pay close attention to emergency information and alerts from official sources. Marylanders can subscribe to alerts from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) by texting “MdReady” to 898211.
  • Keep devices charged in case of possible power outages.
  • Use the ‘Know Your Zone’ interactive tool to see if the places you live, work, or visit are in one of Maryland’s three evacuation zones.
  • Make sure emergency kits include at least two face coverings for each person, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and other COVID-19 related supplies in addition to the usual disaster supply kit components.
  • Exercise extreme caution if you must travel—remember, if you encounter standing water over a roadway, turn around, don’t drown.

More resources on hurricane preparedness can be found here.

Statewide preparations include the following:

Maryland Emergency Management Agency

  • The State Activation Level (SAL) is “Enhanced” and will be escalated this evening to increase coordination between state agencies.
  • MEMA continues to coordinate daily calls between the National Weather Service, state agencies, and local emergency managers and stands ready to assist local agencies and coordinate state resources as needed.

Maryland Department of Transportation

  • The State Highway Administration is deploying maintenance forces throughout the state to begin storm preparation measures. Crews are evaluating all emergency response equipment, and emergency patrols will be active during the storm event to assist with incidents and motorists.
  • Motorists are advised to prepare for wind warnings, restrictions, and the potential for temporary traffic holds at Maryland Transportation Authority bridges.
  • The Maryland Transit Administration is advising travelers to prepare for the potential for transit service delays or rerouting due to inclement weather.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport employees are conducting inspections of the airfield, securing equipment, and checking and refueling emergency generators.
  • Coast Guard Sector Maryland has set Port Condition X-RAY for vessels and ports. Ports America Chesapeake is closing Seagirt Marine Terminal and its operations at Dundalk Marine Terminal tomorrow. Other operations at Dundalk Marine Terminal and at the other state-owned, public marine terminals are continuing to operate under normal conditions at this time.

Maryland Department of Health

  • COVID-19 testing operations will be suspended Tuesday, August 4, including the high-volume testing event planned at Ripken Stadium. Marylanders should monitor covidtest.maryland.gov for updates.

Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services System

  • The department’s Operations Center is staffed and continues to monitor the status of hospital capacity and physical plant status.

Maryland Department of Human Services

  • The Maryland Department of Human Services has provided additional supplies and staff to the Eastern Shore in preparation for any human services needs related to Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The department is partnering with the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, 2-1-1 Maryland, and the Department of Disabilities to put a statewide system in place to assist with feeding people who have evacuated to hotels and do not have sufficient food.
  • In preparation for hurricane season, the department has been distributing information regarding how to operate safe disaster sheltering in a COVID-19 environment.

Maryland State Police

  • The Mobile Field Force has been placed on standby to respond, if needed, throughout the state, and MSP commanders have scheduled personnel to staff local emergency operations centers.
  • The State Police Underwater Recovery Team is ready to respond if their expertise and equipment are needed.
  • All patrol troopers have been advised to prepare for extended duty during the storm if required.

Maryland Department of the Environment

  • The Maryland Department of the Environment has engaged with high and significant hazard dam owners and operators, wastewater treatment plants, and drinking water facilities regarding their need to prepare for severe weather.
  • The department has authorized the continuous operation of solid waste facilities through the close of business Thursday to manage possible storm debris, and is taking steps to secure its statewide air monitoring network to protect valuable equipment.

Maryland Energy Administration/Maryland Public Service Commission

  • The agencies are coordinating with Maryland utility providers on their storm preparedness and public safety efforts.

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

  • Emergency preparedness personnel have prepared facilities for severe weather, with generators fueled and adequate supplies on hand.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

  • Maryland State Parks are preparing to close and/or evacuate several day-use areas and campgrounds that are likely to be affected by the storm and related flooding. Closures will be announced via social media.
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel have removed small to medium sized department vessels and sensitive monitoring equipment to safety, and also moved equipment and materials from ongoing waterfront projects to minimize damage and debris.

Maryland Department of General Services

  • The department continues to ensure the storm water management systems for State buildings are clear of debris and in working order.
  • The Office of State Procurement has also been in contact with emergency vendors in the event of debris removal and other emergency services.

Maryland Department of Agriculture

  • The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s animal health program is preparing supplies needed for pet sheltering. Staff is moving into position on the Eastern Shore and Baltimore area in the event that shelters are activated.

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Governor Hogan Announces Expanded Statewide Mask Order, Out-of-State Travel Advisory

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan announced, based on the state’s data-driven approach, the expansion of the statewide masking order and a public health advisory for all out-of-state travel. The governor also unveiled contact tracing data showing that family gatherings are the most common high-risk gathering and working outside the home is the most common high-risk location for COVID-19.

A recent increase in hospitalizations has triggered a ‘stop sign’ in the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ calling for a pause in further reopening plans.

“We find ourselves at a fork in the road—a critical turning point where we could either continue making progress and continue heading in the right direction, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country,” said Governor Hogan. “We are doing much better on our health metrics than most of the rest of the country, and we are doing much better on our economic recovery than most of the rest of the country, and we want to do what it takes to keep it that way. We have come too far together to lose the progress that we have made on the road to health and economic recovery here in Maryland.”

EXPANDED MASKING ORDER. With the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, Governor Hogan is expanding the statewide masking order that has been in effect since April 18.

Under this order, which takes effect Friday, July 31 at 5:00 p.m., all Marylanders over the age of five are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state.

Face coverings will also be required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. The expanded order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions. Read the governor’s order.

OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL ADVISORY. Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue a public health advisory for out-of-state travel. Under this advisory, Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to states with positivity rates of 10% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results.

This public health advisory—which takes effect immediately—applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity rates decline.

As of today, this advisory applies to Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Idaho. Read the travel advisory.

CONTACT TRACING DATA. In addition to identifying individuals who may have been infected with COVID-19, Maryland is now using contact tracing data to find patterns of behavior, and to identify where and how the virus is spreading. The governor announced the following findings based on recent interviews conducted with COVID-19 patients:

  • Higher-Risk Gatherings (Percentage of Interviewed Cases):
    • Family Gatherings – 44%
    • House Parties – 23%
    • Outdoor Event – 21%
  • Higher-Risk Locations (Percentage of Interviewed Cases):
    • Work Outside the Home – 54%
    • Indoor/Retail Shopping – 39%
    • Indoor Dining at Restaurant – 23%
    • Outdoor Dining at Restaurant – 23%
  • Employment Information (Percentage of Interviewed Cases):
    • Health care – 25%
    • Other – Non-public Facing – 23%
    • Other – Public Facing – 13%
    • Restaurant/Food Service – 12%

Maryland State Superintendent Sets Guardrails for Schools to Reopen

Governor Larry Hogan today provided an update to Marylanders on the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery, stressing the need for continued caution and vigilance. The governor was joined by Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon, who announced that MSDE will extend flexibility to local school systems to determine re-openings while instituting guardrails and protocols for in-person instruction.

Dr. Salmon announced that local school systems will have the flexibility to determine, in consultation with their local health officers, how they will open and which groups of students and staff will be able to re-enter school buildings. Depending on conditions in their locality, school systems may be more restrictive than the requirements outlined in the state’s recovery plan.

“We want to get our students back to school as soon as possible for in-person instruction, and this should be the driving goal and the basis for all of our decisions,” said Dr. Salmon. “However, the imminent safety and health of students and staff must, and always will be, the first priority.”

Within the framework of local control, MSDE will set a series of guardrails for school systems:

  • All systems must follow CDC guidelines for schools, which stress the importance of handwashing, physical distancing, and cloth face coverings. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students, particularly when physical distancing is not possible.
  • All school systems must adhere to protocols instituted by state health officials for addressing an outbreak. Schools should provide written notification and next steps to all identified contacts. Schools should follow instructions from the local health department for all matters regarding quarantine, exclusion, and return to school for persons with a positive test for COVID-19 and those who had close contact.
  • All school systems must meet a series of benchmarks before reopening:
    • Incorporate equity as a component in the local recovery plan;
    • Establish local education recovery stakeholder groups;
    • Identify learning gaps and instructional placement of students;
    • Follow and maintain curricular frameworks and Maryland College and Career Ready Standards;
    • Adhere to components of IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and ADA;
    • Adopt and follow health procedures outlined by the MSDE, MDH, and CDC, including cleaning and sanitization;
    • Ensure safe transportation for all students;
    • Develop a system for tracking attendance; and
    • Follow the Maryland Public Secondary Sports Athletic Association guidance for interscholastic athletics and activities

Hogan Administration Uncovers Massive Criminal Fraud Scheme

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has uncovered a massive and sophisticated criminal enterprise involving more than 47,500 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in Maryland and totaling over $501 million. The governor was joined for today’s announcement by Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson and Special Agent Derek Pickle from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG).

Maryland’s swift and decisive actions to notify federal authorities and expose this illegal scheme helped shed light on related fraudulent criminal activity in other states across the country. The Maryland Department of Labor continues to coordinate on the ongoing investigation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DOL-OIG.

“Thanks to the efforts of our Labor Department, not only did we identify the fraudulent activity here in Maryland and save the taxpayers half a billion dollars, but we also helped federal authorities uncover related illegal activity in states across the country,” said Governor Hogan. “This criminal enterprise seeking to take advantage of a global pandemic to steal hundreds of millions—perhaps billions—of dollars from taxpayers is despicable. We will continue to work with both the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General on this ongoing investigation, both here in Maryland and in other states across the country, to do whatever it takes to ensure the perpetrators are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“My office and the entire law enforcement community are committed to bringing to justice fraudsters who are preying on citizens during this unprecedented public health crisis by using their stolen personal information to fraudulently attempt to obtain unemployment benefits,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “We are grateful for our partnership with the State of Maryland in stopping unemployment fraud and believe that this joint federal-state partnership will continue to bear fruit. We will continue to work together to prevent this abuse as well as continue our outreach efforts to make the public aware of COVID-19 scams and frauds. I urge citizens to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity or fraudulent use of their personal information.”

“Today’s announcement results from our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State of Maryland, and demonstrates our joint commitment to combating fraud in the Unemployment Insurance program,” said Derek Pickle, Special Agent-in-Charge, Washington Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. “The OIG will continue to work closely with our law enforcement and state workforce agency partners to aggressively pursue criminals who choose to enrich themselves without regard for taxpayers and individuals who truly need assistance.”

The Maryland Department of Labor is now reporting the following:
  • Over $4.3 billion in CARES Act and regular unemployment insurance benefits payments have been paid out.
  • 96.4% of all claims have been successfully processed.
  • The proportion of pending cases (3.6%) is below pre-pandemic levels.

Governor Hogan Announces Next Stage Two Reopenings, Including Indoor Dining and Outdoor Amusements

With key statewide health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction, Governor Larry Hogan today announced additional safe and phased reopenings through Stage Two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’

“This truly is one of the most daunting challenges our state has ever faced, but sometimes the worst times have a way of bringing out the very best in Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “And while I cannot promise you that we will fully recover from all these problems quickly, I will tell you that together we have faced and overcome daunting challenges before, and that we will get through these tough and difficult times together.”

The state’s critical health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction. Hospitalizations have dropped below 1,000, and to their lowest point in 61 days. ICU beds are also at an eight-week low. The state’s positivity rate has declined to 7.2 percent, and the positivity rate has dropped to single digits in 23 of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.

REOPENINGS EFFECTIVE FRIDAY, JUNE 12 AT 5 PM:

  • INDOOR DINING. Restaurants can resume indoor operations at 50 percent capacity, with appropriate distancing, and following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association. Maryland Department of Health directives.
  • OUTDOOR AMUSEMENTS. Outdoor amusements and rides, including miniature golf and go-kart tracks, may resume with appropriate health and safety protocols. Capacity restrictions at pools will be increased to 50 percent with strict safety guidelines still in place. Guidelines and best practices.

Read the updated executive order.

REOPENINGS EFFECTIVE FRIDAY, JUNE 19 AT 5 PM

  • INDOOR FITNESS ACTIVITIES. After an extra week of sanitization and safety preparations, indoor gyms, martial arts, dance, and other indoor studio fitness activities may begin to safely reopen at 50 percent capacity with strict health, distancing, and sanitization measures. Guidelines and best practices.
  • CASINOS, ARCADES, AND MALLS. Casinos, arcades, and malls may also begin to resume operations with strict safety protocols.

SCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE REOPENINGS

  • GRADUATION CEREMONIES. The governor is encouraging local school systems to plan and hold safe outdoor graduation ceremonies with appropriate capacity and social distancing measures in place.
  • SCHOOL BUILDINGS. School systems may now begin bringing small groups of students and staff into school buildings. School systems are encouraged to prioritize summer instruction for vulnerable populations. All nonpublic special education schools may reopen to serve students with disabilities.
  • CHILD CARE PROVIDERS. All child care providers may begin to reopen, and the number of individuals child care providers can have in one room has been expanded to a maximum of 15.
  • OUTDOOR HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS. Outdoor high school sports may begin to resume practice and training activities within the same guidelines that were previously announced for youth sports programs.

EXPANDED TESTING IN BALTIMORE CITY. State officials are encouraging anyone who has recently attended peaceful demonstrations to get tested for COVID-19. As part of this effort, beginning next week, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland National Guard will open multiple high-volume COVID-19 testing sites across Baltimore City, including at the Baltimore Convention Center.

REOPENING GUIDANCE. As additional industries and activities begin to resume, the Maryland Department of Commerce continues to develop and issue guidance and best practices to help businesses reopen safely. These resources are available at open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness.

COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACH. Stage Two will continue to be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that allows local leaders to allow reopenings at their discretion

 

Watch press conference.
View the slides from press conference.


Governor Hogan Announces Beginning of Stage Two of Maryland’s COVID-19 Recovery, Safe and Gradual Reopening of Workplaces and Businesses

Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland will begin to move into Stage Two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ with a safe and gradual reopening of workplaces and businesses, along with additional personal services. This comes after the state’s positivity rate dropped to single digits, and total current hospitalizations fell to their lowest level in more than seven weeks.

As with Stage One, Stage Two will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. All 24 of the state’s jurisdictions have now entered Stage One.

“Moving into Stage Two is an important step forward for our state after what has been a very difficult period,” said Governor Hogan. “The people of our great state have endured so many significant personal, medical, and economic challenges. But in the face of the most daunting challenge in our lifetime, the people of Maryland have been resilient, they’ve never lost hope, and they are showing what it truly means to be Maryland strong.”

NEW UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE LAB FULLY OPERATIONAL FOR COVID TESTING. The governor also announced today that, as part of the state’s long-term testing strategy, the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Sciences clinical lab is now fully operational and beginning to process COVID-19 tests, including the tests the state acquired from South Korea. In April, the governor announced an initial $2.5 million investment in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore to launch this large-scale testing initiative. This signature, state-of-the-art lab will be the backbone of the state’s sustained testing strategy, pre-positioning the state for any second wave and the coming flu season.

STAGE TWO BEGINS FRIDAY, JUNE 5 AT 5:00 PM:

To begin Stage Two, Governor Hogan announced that he will be lifting the order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses. The list of open businesses in Maryland will include manufacturing, construction, large and small retail shops, speciality vendors, wholesalers, warehouses, and offices including information technology firms, legal offices, accounting, banking and financial institutions, insurance agencies, design studios, advertising and architectural firms, and media production companies. Read the governor’s order here.

Additionally, real estate offices, travel agencies, auto dealer showrooms, bank branches and various other offices may all safely reopen with public health and safety guidance recommendations in place. This guidance includes: 

  • Wearing face coverings whenever face-to-face interaction takes place.
  • Conducting temperature checks for workers and other personnel.
  • Limiting the proximity of employees by rotating employee hours.
  • Instituting split schedules, shifts, or shorter work weeks.
  • Staggering start, break, or shift times.

Employees who can telework should continue to do so whenever possible.

ADDITIONAL PERSONAL SERVICES. Additional personal services including nail salons, massage therapists, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors may resume operations at up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only, and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.

REOPENING OF STATE GOVERNMENT. Maryland state government will also begin returning to more normal operations on Monday, June 8. The Motor Vehicle Administration and other customer-facing agencies will begin reopening select branches to customers on a limited basis by appointment only. Staff will be required to wear face coverings and will have plexiglass dividers at each station. With more Marylanders back to work, transit will begin to return to a more normal schedule and the Maryland State Department of Education will continue with its gradual plan to reopen child care centers.

REOPENING GUIDANCE. As additional industries and activities begin to resume, the Maryland Department of Commerce continues to develop and issue guidance and best practices to help businesses reopen safely. These resources are available at open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness.

NEXT STEPS. State officials and the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team will continue to watch the data closely, and if encouraging trends continue, the next step, likely coinciding with the end of the school year, will be to consider opening additional amusement, fitness, sporting, and other summertime activities.

Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery for more information about the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’

Watch today’s press conference.
View the slides from today’s press conference.


Governor Hogan Announces Resumption of Outdoor Dining, Additional Activities to Complete Stage One of Recovery

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that due to successful Stage One reopenings across the state and improvements in key data and metrics, the State of Maryland can now safely move forward with the completion of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes the resumption of outdoor dining and outdoor activities such as youth sports and youth day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters.

Stage One will continue to be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. As of today, 23 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions have entered or announced their plan to begin entering Stage One.

“Though we continue to make great progress toward recovery, COVID-19 is still very much a deadly threat, and our responsible behavior is absolutely critical in the continued efforts to defeat it,” said Governor Hogan. “Thankfully, the vast majority of our citizens clearly understand that while doing things like avoiding crowds, practicing distancing, and wearing masks may be inconvenient, that these are some of the best tools we have to continue to slow the spread of this virus, and to put us in a position to rebuild and restore our economy, and to finally defeat this invisible enemy.”

MARYLAND’S POSITIVITY RATE HAS DROPPED BY HALF, NEW DATA NOW AVAILABLE. Maryland has now reached the goal of conducting 10,000 tests in a day, and has completed more than 300,000 COVID-19 tests statewide. With the state’s expanded testing and tracing capacity, Maryland now has the ability to take a closer and more accurate look at positivity rates—another important indicator of the recovery and a key metric being used by the CDC and other states to track the containment progress of COVID-19.

Building on Maryland’s data-driven approach, Governor Hogan unveiled positivity rate data for the state showing that Maryland’s statewide positivity rate peaked at 26.91% on April 7. Since then, it has dropped by more than half, down to 12.8%. This data is now available on the state’s public health dashboard.

LOWER RISK DOES NOT MEAN NO RISK. Governor Hogan continued to stress the importance of staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds of people, teleworking when possible, practicing physical distancing, wearing masks in indoor public areas, and avoiding public transportation unless it is absolutely necessary.

Stage One Activities Effective Friday, May 29, at 5:00 pm:

OUTDOOR DINING. Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association. Read the governor’s order here.

Restaurants must:

  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

In an effort to promote safer dining and support the restaurant industry, the governor is encouraging local jurisdictions to expand the footprint of outdoor dining by allowing for the closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces.

Guidance and best practices for restaurants.

YOUTH SPORTS. Outdoor youth sports may resume following appropriate CDC guidelines including:

  • Limited, low-contact outdoor practices focused on individual skill building versus competition.
  • Limited group sizes.
  • Limited touching of shared equipment and gear.
  • The ability to engage in physical distancing while not actively engaged in play.

Guidance and best practices for youth sports.

YOUTH DAY CAMPS. Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume under the following guidance:

  • Capacity limitation of no more than 10 individuals in a group.
  • Daily COVID symptom checks for youth camp staff and campers.
  • No out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
  • Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers.

Department of Health directives regarding youth camp programs.
Guidance and best practices for youth day camps.

OUTDOOR POOLS. All outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines including:

  • 25% capacity restrictions.
  • Strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
  • Patrons will be required to sign-in and sign-out.
  • All pools will be required to post signage warning anyone who is sick not to enter.

Department of Health directives regarding swimming pools.
Guidance and best practices for outdoor pools.

STAGE TWO. Governor Hogan noted that health officials will continue to watch the data closely, and if these encouraging trends continue into next week, the state will then be in a position to move into Stage Two of the recovery, which would mean lifting the order on non-essential businesses.

Watch today’s press conference.
Read the slides from today’s press conference.


Stage One: Governor Hogan Announces Gradual Reopenings With Flexible, Community-Based Approach

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.

Stage One will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

“As we begin Stage One of our recovery, I want to assure every Marylander who may feel uneasy, and anyone who is concerned that we are moving either too quickly or too slowly, that each and every decision we make is both fact-based and science-based and made only after extensive consultation with our expert Coronavirus Recovery Team,” said Governor Hogan. “We are continually monitoring this crisis, we remain focused on the clusters, outbreaks, and hotspots, and I can assure you that we remain ready to quickly and decisively respond to any changes in the facts on the ground, and that we will continue to attack this virus with every single tool at our disposal.”

SAFER AT HOME. Effective Friday, May 15, at 5:00 pm, Maryland will move from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory.

Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, are strongly advised to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so. Maryland citizens should continue wearing masks in indoor public areas, retail stores, and on public transportation. Additionally, Marylanders should continue practicing physical distancing, continue avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keep washing their hands often, and frequently sanitize high-touch areas.

LOCAL FLEXIBILITY FOR JURISDICTIONS. Governor Hogan’s ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ provides a flexible and community-based approach which empowers county leaders to make decisions regarding the timing of Stage One reopening in their individual jurisdictions. Read the new order here.

RETAIL STORES. Governor Hogan announced that retail stores may reopen at up to 50 percent capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions in place. Examples of businesses that may reopen include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, art galleries, and bookstores.

MANUFACTURING. Governor Hogan announced manufacturing may resume operations in a safe manner which protects the health of employees, with guidelines encouraging multiple shifts and other safety precautions.

CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP. Churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged. Religious leaders are strongly urged to do everything possible to keep their congregants safe, and particularly to protect the elderly and vulnerable within their congregations.

PERSONAL SERVICES. Some personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.

‘BACK TO BUSINESS.’ Businesses that adopt all safety guidelines are encouraged to take a ‘Back to Business’ pledge.

Watch today’s press conference.
View the slides from today’s press conference. 


Governor Hogan Announces New Actions to Include Broadening of Activities

As Maryland continues preparations to begin Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ Governor Larry Hogan today announced the resumption of elective medical procedures and the broadening of permitted outdoor activities under the state’s Stay at Home order. These directives have the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, including leading doctors and public health experts.

“I realize that these are only small steps, and that they may be of little comfort to those who are out of work and struggling,” said Governor Hogan. “But it is thanks to all of you and your incredible sacrifices that we are making great progress. We are indeed flattening the curve and we are preparing to launch our reopening plan in order to safely get people back to work, to safely get our small businesses back open again to get our economy back on track, so that Maryland, and our nation, can defeat this virus and come back stronger and better than ever.”

RESUMPTION OF ELECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue guidance that allows hospitals and licensed health care providers to resume elective and non-urgent medical procedures. Providers must exercise their independent professional judgment in determining what procedures are appropriate to perform, which appointments should occur, and which patients to see in light of widespread COVID-19 community transmission. All health care workers, patients, and others must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and physical distancing requirements must be strictly maintained in all settings where people must wait in order to minimize direct contact between individuals. Read the Maryland Department of Health’s order.

BROADENING OF PERMITTED OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Governor Hogan has amended his Stay at Home order to broaden the list of permitted outdoor activities to now include individual and small group sports such as golfing, tennis, and similar activities; outdoor fitness instruction; recreational fishing and hunting; recreational boating; and horseback riding. Closed functions at state parks will be reopened, including all state beaches for walking and exercise, as well as playgrounds. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion. It will remain critical, however, that Marylanders continue to follow public health guidance and practice physical distancing. These changes take effect tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, at 7:00 a.m.

SCHOOLS. State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon announced that following extensive discussions with the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE), the State Board of Education, MDH, and public health experts advising the governor, schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. While online and distance learning opportunities will continue, the department will release ‘Maryland Together: Recovery Plan for Education,’ a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery. At this point, MSDE does not envision that the reopening of schools would be included in Stage One of the governor’s plan, however, different methods of returning to school could be included in both Stage Two and Three. Additional updates include:

  • Child care. MSDE has distributed $34 million in payments to over 3,700 child care providers serving children of essential personnel, and all payments are now up-to-date.
  • Meal program. Since the beginning of school closures in March, MSDE has served nearly 8 million meals at 715 sites to school-aged children in Maryland with the support of local food directors and the Maryland National Guard. To find a meal distribution site, please click here.
  • Graduation. Decisions regarding graduation will be made by each local school system superintendent. MSDE has been assured by each superintendent that they are collaborating with the local community to be certain that recognition is moving forward and that seniors will have the opportunity to be recognized for their exceptional accomplishments.

RECOVERY PLAN UPDATE. On Tuesday, Governor Hogan convened another call with the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, which unanimously endorsed today’s actions. The governor also received reports from 15 industry-specific business advisory groups, including small businesses, along with churches and nonprofits. Each of these task forces has collaborated on proposed recommendations and guidelines to help determine how they can prepare to reopen in ways that can keep their employees, their customers, and members of their congregations safe. The state will continue to work very closely with these communities as they prepare for their phased, safe, and gradual reopenings.

BUILDING BLOCKS UPDATE. Governor Hogan provided Marylanders with an update on the four building blocks for ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’:

  • Testing. Maryland has expanded testing capacity to cover outbreaks and hotspots, including universal testing for nursing home residents and staff and workers at Maryland’s two poultry processing plants. The state is also expanding testing for health care workers and first responders at local fire and EMS departments, and for health care workers at MDH, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSCS), and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS).
  • Hospital Surge Capacity. The governor announced that the state has exceeded its original surge capacity goal of an additional 6,000 beds. Currently, 8,100 surge beds, including 2,400 ICU beds, are available across the state. The recently reopened Laurel Medical Center is adding a new wing and new rooms are being added at Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park.
  • PPE. The State of Maryland recently acquired 4.5 million KN95 masks, 600,000 N95 masks, 150,000 medical gowns, 1.1 million face shields, and 3.5 million surgical gloves. The week, Maryland launched the ‘Maryland Manufacturing Network Supplier Portal,’ an online platform that helps connect Maryland suppliers with buyers who are looking to source PPE and other critical supplies.
  • Contact Tracing. The State of Maryland recently executed a contract with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the nation’s oldest and largest university-based research firm, to quadruple the state’s disease investigation capability. Hiring is underway with more than 900 applicants across 20 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

Watch today’s press conference.

View the slides from today’s press conference.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery to read the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’


Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery

After weeks of consulting with leading scientists, business leaders, and public health experts, Governor Larry Hogan today introduced the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which provides a safe, effective, and gradual approach to reopening the state as it continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we begin to reopen, it will continue to be important for Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, to continue to stay home as much as they can,” said Governor Hogan. “All Marylanders should continue to avoid crowds and gatherings, and they should continue to practice physical distancing and to take precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their fellow Marylanders. Together, we are going to defeat this virus, and together, the State of Maryland will return stronger and better than ever.”

The ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ incorporates the principles of the National Governors Association’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery, utilizes the guidelines that were issued by the White House, and takes into account much of the work of the recovery plans published by the American Enterprise Institute and Johns Hopkins.

Building Blocks. As Governor Hogan announced on Wednesday, Maryland has made considerable progress on the four building blocks that needed to be firmly in place before the state can consider lifting restrictions:

  • Expanded testing capacity
  • Increased hospital surge capacity
  • Ramping up supply of PPE
  • Robust contact tracing operation

Data Trends. To determine when a recovery can begin, Maryland officials will focus on the rate of hospitalizations and the number of patients admitted to ICU. If these numbers continue to plateau, Maryland could be ready to begin the recovery in early May. Marylanders can access this data daily at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

The ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ is divided into three stages:

  • STAGE ONE calls for lifting the stay-at-home order, and involves business, community, religious, and quality of life improvements. Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage include:
    • Reopening of small shops and certain small businesses
    • Curbside pickup and drop-off for businesses
    • Elective medical and dental procedures at ambulatory, outpatient, and medical offices
    • Limited attendance outdoor religious gatherings
    • Recreational boating, fishing, golf, tennis, hiking, and hunting
    • Reopening of car washes
    • Limited outdoor gym and fitness classes
    • Outdoor work with appropriate distancing measures
    • Some personal services
  • STAGE TWO will likely be a longer stage of the initial recovery, but will also be the stage when a large number of businesses and activities come back online. Any businesses that reopen during this period would need to comply with strict physical distancing and appropriate safety protocols. Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage include:
    • Raising the cap on social gatherings
    • Indoor gyms and fitness classes
    • Childcare centers
    • Normal transit schedules
    • Indoor religious gatherings
    • Reopening of restaurants and bars with restrictions
    • Elective and outpatient procedures at hospitals
  • STAGE THREE will involve instituting higher-risk activities, but there is no realistic timeline yet for achieving this level. Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage include:

    • Larger social gatherings
    • Reopening of high-capacity bars and restaurants
    • Lessened restrictions on visits to nursing homes and hospitals
    • Reopening of entertainment venues
    • Larger religious gatherings

Regional Approach. The Roadmap contemplates offering some flexibility to health officers of county and municipal governments, and considering regional differences in COVID-19 conditions.

In each stage, the state will evaluate which localities meet appropriate gating criteria in the jurisdiction and/or region. In the event a locality has satisfied the gating criteria, county health officers will be permitted to expand the permitted activities and businesses under parameters of the current stage identified by the state.

Coronavirus Recovery Team. Governor Hogan is transitioning the Maryland Coronavirus Response Team of doctors and public health experts into a broader Coronavirus Recovery Team. The full list of members includes:

  • Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford
  • Ms. Carol Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities
  • Dr. Wilbur Chen, Chief of the Adult Clinical Studies, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Mr. Augie Chiasera, Senior Vice President and President of M&T Bank’s Baltimore and Chesapeake regions
  • Mr. Jim Davis, Chairman and Co-Founder at Allegis Group
  • Mr. Ted Delbridge, Director, Institute for Maryland Emergency Medical Services System
  • Mr. Robert Doar, President of the American Enterprise Institute
  • Dr. Stephen Evans, Chief Medical Officer, MedStar Health
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security,
  • Ms. Rona Kramer, Secretary, Maryland Department of Aging
  • Dr. John Loome, Senior VP, Medical Affairs – Genesis Healthcare
  • Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of Infection Prevention, Johns Hopkins Health System.
  • Dr. David Marcozzi, Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Acute Care, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Mr. Mark McManus, General President, United Association
  • Mr. Robert Neall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Health
  • Ms. Fran Phillips, Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Maryland Department of Health
  • Mr. Kevin Plank, Founder and Executive Chairman, ‎Under Armour
  • Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Dr. Mitch Schwartz, Chief Medical Officer and President of Physician Enterprise, Luminis Health
  • Dr. Linda Singh, Interim Executive Director and CEO, TEDCO; Major General (Retired), Maryland National Guard
  • Mr. Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International

Industry-Specific Advisory Groups. Governor Hogan has directed Secretary Schulz and the Maryland Department of Commerce to form advisory groups to develop recommendations and best practices for their industries to responsibly reopen and operate. These recommendations will also be carefully reviewed by the Coronavirus Recovery Team. Key industry sectors include:

  1. Retail
  2. Accommodations
  3. Sports
  4. Restaurants and Bars
  5. Attractions
  6. Destinations
  7. Tourism
  8. Transportation
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Professional and Financial Services
  11. Personal Services, and Small Business
  12. Construction and Development
  13. Arts

In addition, Governor Hogan has established two advisory groups through the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives to get valuable ongoing input during the recovery from religious groups and nonprofit organizations:

  1. Faith-Based Organizations and Churches
  2. Service Organizations and Nonprofits

 

Read the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery here.

 


Governor Hogan Enacts Executive Order Requiring the Use of Masks or Cloth Face Coverings

Today, Governor Hogan enacted an executive order which will require the wearing of masks or face coverings when inside any retail establishments, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores, or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland.

It also requires all essential retail locations to require their staff to wear face coverings, and requires those businesses to put appropriate social distancing measures in place in order to keep customers and their staff safe.

To give these retailers time to make these adjustments, the order will go into effect beginning Saturday, April 18, at 7 a.m.

While this order is an important step in the Governor’s immediate efforts to protect public health and safety, the wearing of masks is also something that we as Marylanders may have to become more accustomed to in order to safely reopen our state.

The CDC has issued detailed guidance regarding how you can make and use homemade cloth face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/…/prevent…/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

 

 


Governor Hogan Issues Stay at Home Order Effective Tonight

As the COVID-19 crisis escalates in the National Capital Region, Governor Larry Hogan today issued a Stay at Home order to protect public health and safety. The order, which takes effect at 8:00 p.m. tonight, states that no Maryland resident should leave their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.

“This is a deadly public health crisis—we are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home, we are directing them to do so,” said Governor Hogan. “No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.”

Read Full Press Release: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/30/as-covid-19-crisis-escalates-in-capital-region-governor-hogan-issues-stay-at-home-order-effective-tonight/


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Whole-of-Government Response

The federal government continues to take aggressive and proactive steps to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of the American people is our top priority.

We are halfway through 15 Days to Slow the Spread. Do your part to flatten the curve: Stay home as much as much as possible. If you need to go out, practice social distancing.

Under the direction of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, FEMA, HHS and our federal partners are working with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to execute a whole of government response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the public.

Read Full FEMA Advisory: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDHS/2020/03/25/file_attachments/1410622/FEMA%20COVID%20Advisory%203.25.20.pdf


Maryland Public Schools to Remain Closed Through April 24, Governor Hogan Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan today provided an update on Maryland’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced that he is requesting a presidential disaster declaration for the state of Maryland.

“People are looking for certainty, but the truth is, we simply don’t know yet how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, or how successful these social distancing actions are going to be in flattening the curve,” said Governor Hogan. “What we do know is that this will not be over in a matter of days or weeks. As I have been saying over and over since day one, the number of cases will continue to rapidly and dramatically rise. It is critically important that every single person remains vigilant and continues doing their part by staying in place, in their homes, as much as possible so that we can break the back of this virus.”

Read Full Press Release: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/25/maryland-public-schools-to-remain-closed-through-april-24-governor-hogan-requests-presidential-disaster-declaration-for-maryland/


Governor Hogan Announces Closure of All Non-Essential Businesses, $175 Million Relief Package for Workers and Small Businesses Affected By COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and announced a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor again urged Marylanders to help their neighbors by staying home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Read Full Release: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/23/governor-hogan-announces-closure-of-all-non-essential-businesses-175-million-relief-package-for-workers-and-small-businesses-affected-by-covid-19/


Governor Larry Hogan Declares State of Emergency, Expands Statewide Response to Novel Coronavirus

On March 5, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan announced the state’s first positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and declared a state of emergencyto ramp up Maryland’s coordinated response across all levels of government.

Read Full Press Release: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/05/governor-larry-hogan-declares-state-of-emergency-expands-statewide-response-to-novel-coronavirus/


Governor Hogan Announces Additional Steps to Protect Marylanders From Coronavirus

ANNAPOLIS, MD—At a press conference today at the State Emergency Operations Center of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Governor Larry Hogan provided an update and announced additional steps the state is taking to protect Marylanders from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and prepare for any potential outbreak. Prior to the press conference, Governor Hogan convened a meeting with senior Cabinet officials and spoke to Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the federal response.

“While there is currently no immediate public health emergency here in Maryland, based on the latest guidance from the CDC and our federal partners, we want our citizens to know that all levels of government are working together proactively and taking every possible precaution to respond to threats of public health,” said Governor Hogan. “We will continue to track this and will be receiving almost constant, up-to-the-minute information. The public should be assured that our state’s preparedness builds on decades of planning, experience, and expertise gained from previous and ongoing public health events. I would encourage all Marylanders not to panic, but to take this seriously and to continue to stay informed.”

Joined by senior Cabinet officials, the governor announced that he will submit a supplemental budget that will include $10 million for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses. While there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maryland at this time, two patients have met the criteria for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing. The governor stressed the importance of heeding the CDC’s guidance that local schools, businesses, and communities should be prepared for closures and disruptions to daily life.

In addition, the governor encouraged Marylanders to visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information, and to dial 2-1-1 to talk to experts about any questions or concerns.

The governor also announced that in addition to convening his full Cabinet tomorrow, administration officials will provide a detailed briefing to members of the General Assembly, as well as the Comptroller, the Attorney General, and the Treasurer.

Statewide Preparedness Efforts Continue

In January, Governor Hogan directed all state agencies to take every precaution and mobilize whatever resources are necessary to address COVID-19. Pursuant to his direction, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) continues to coordinate with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and all state, federal, and local partners to lead response efforts, all with the goal to minimize risk to the public.

MDH is engaged in regular communications with clinicians and health care providers across the state, working with local hospitals to develop comprehensive hospital surge plans to be activated if necessary. The department’s preparedness and response team is inventorying available resources at hospitals, local health departments, federally qualified healthcare centers, long term care facilities, dialysis centers, and other healthcare partners. MDH’s infectious disease experts are providing weekly briefings to all local health departments and healthcare facilities across the state.

MDH has worked with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to provide guidance to school systems across the state, and is coordinating with colleges and universities to address concerns with student and faculty populations. In coordination with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), MDH is actively engaged with travelers to ensure they have the information they need and are following CDC guidance to protect the safety of these travelers and the public.

Potential alternative housing, support and transportation are being developed should some Marylanders impacted by the virus not be able to recover at home.

Additionally, state agencies are participating in daily briefing and coordination calls with federal partners at the CDC, the U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Department of Defense. Frequent calls are held with neighboring states to coordinate case surveillance, investigation and response activities (including senior health officials, epidemiologists and public health emergency preparedness directors).

What can Marylanders do to prepare?

Though the public health threat here in Maryland and across the United States remains low, you can take very basic steps to help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

  • Stay informed — Visit cdc.gov for the most recent general updates and health.maryland.gov for the latest information on COVID-19 in Maryland.
  • Practice everyday actions to promote good health and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
    • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water
    • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • If you are sick, stay home from work or school
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Build a preparedness kit for your home in case you are sick with any respiratory virus and need to stay at home. See health.maryland.gov for details. Examples include:
    • Pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, and cough drops
    • Alcohol–based hand sanitizer
    • Thermometer
    • Facial tissues, paper products
    • Nonperishable food
    • Extended supply of prescription medications
    • Diapers or pet supplies if needed
  • There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but you should get a flu shot — it’s not too late. It will not prevent COVID-19, but getting a flu shot will help keep you and your loved ones healthy as we continue to see widespread flu.

Visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information and resources, including the latest information on COVID-19 status in Maryland.

To view a copy of the press release please click here.


First Travel-related Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Detected in United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States in the state of Washington. The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019. While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.

Read Full Press Release Here: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0121-novel-coronavirus-travel-case.html


Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) 2nd Annual National Cybersecurity Summit.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is hosting the 2nd Annual National Cybersecurity Summit.  The Summit will bring together stakeholders from around the world to a forum with presentations focused on emerging technologies, vulnerability management, incident response, risk mitigation, and other current cybersecurity topics. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Federal, state, and local agencies, private sector organizations, and international partners as they highlight successes and opportunities for collective action. The Summit is intended to be an inclusive event and will be particularly valuable for senior leaders, CISOs, practitioners, and policy experts at public and private sector organizations who have shown a commitment to advancing cybersecurity and infrastructure protection risk management discussions.

Summit dates are September 18 through September 20, 2019 at National Harbor. To sign up for the summit, click here.


CISA, MS-ISAC, NGA & NASCIO Recommend Immediate Action To Safeguard Against Ransomeware Attacks

CISA, MS-ISAC, NGA & NASCIO RECOMMEND IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST RANSOMWARE ATTACKS

 

Take the First Three Steps to Resilience Against Ransomware for State and Local Partners

 

WASHINGTON – July 29, 2019 – The recent ransomware attacks targeting systems across the country are the latest in a string of attacks affecting State and local government partners. The growing number of such attacks highlights the critical importance of making cyber preparedness a priority and taking the necessary steps to secure our networks against adversaries. Prevention is the most effective defense against ransomware.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Multi State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), National Governors Association (NGA), and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) are committed to supporting ransomware victims and encouraging all levels of government to proactively protect their networks against the threat of a ransomware attack. Today, we call on our State, local, territorial and tribal government partners, along with the wider cyber community to take the following essential actions to enhance their defensive posture against ransomware. Through this collective action, we can better protect ourselves and our communities and further advance the cyber preparedness and resilience of the Nation.

 

Three Steps to Resilience Against Ransomware:

  1. Back-Up Your Systems – Now (and Daily)

Immediately and regularly back up all critical agency and system configuration information on a separate device and store the back-ups offline, verifying their integrity and restoration process. If recovering after an attack, restore a stronger system than you lost, fully patched and updated to the latest version.

  1. Reinforce Basic Cybersecurity Awareness and Education

Ransomware attacks often require the human element to succeed. Refresh employee training on recognizing cyber threats, phishing and suspicious links – the most common vectors for ransomware attacks. Remind employees of how to report incidents to appropriate IT staff in a timely manner, which should include out-of-band communication paths.

  1. Revisit and Refine Cyber Incident Response Plans

Agencies must have a clear plan to address attacks when they occur, including when internal capabilities are overwhelmed. Make sure response plans include how to request assistance from external cyber first responders, such as state agencies, CISA and the MS ISAC, in the event of an attack.

Additional Resources

After implementing these recommendations, refer to the ransomware best practices published by CISA, MS-ISAC, NGA, and NASCIO for additional steps to protect your organization.

 

Find the link to the full statement here.


Governor Hogan Signs Executive Order Strengthening Cybersecurity in Maryland

Annapolis, MD—In an effort to further strengthen Maryland’s cybersecurity infrastructure, Governor Larry Hogan signed Executive Order 01.01.2019.07 creating the position of Maryland Chief Information Security Officer (SCISO), establishing the Office of Security Management and the Maryland Cybersecurity Coordinating Council (MCCC). These three entities will be the driving force behind the Maryland Cyber Defense Initiative, which will strengthen the state’s cybersecurity posture while also solidifying its ability to manage and minimize the consequences of a cybersecurity incident.

“Security of Marylanders is at the forefront of our administration’s efforts on a day-to-day basis. In today’s world of emerging cyber threats, it is crucial that we work in unity to improve the processes and procedures designed to protect Marylanders and to manage and minimize the consequences of cyber events,” said Governor Hogan. “The steps we are taking today are about ensuring that Maryland’s infrastructure and citizens are as safe as possible from cyber attacks.”

The Maryland Chief Information Security Officer will lead the Office of Security Management. The office, located within the Department of Information Technology, is responsible for the direction, coordination, and implementation of the overall cybersecurity strategy and policy for all state agencies in the Executive Branch. The SCISO and Office of Security Management will also lead the efforts of updating and disseminating the Maryland Cybersecurity Manual which will serve to direct and harmonize efforts among multiple organizations working towards unified cybersecurity goals.

“It is essential that the state’s overall cybersecurity strategy and policy are in alignment with best practices and the latest federal standards and guidelines, such as the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines,” said John Evans, Maryland’s Chief Information Security Officer.

The MCCC will provide policy-level guidance regarding the implementation of the cybersecurity program as well as work alongside internal and external stakeholders to provide recommendations to build and sustain the capabilities necessary for the state to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from cybersecurity-related risk. The MCCC will be comprised of state officials representing numerous agencies and departments throughout the state.

“Governor Hogan is once again showing that he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Marylanders secure in all aspects of our lives. A centralized statewide cybersecurity structure is necessary to ensure that state government agencies are managing systems and data in a consistent and secure manner. This initiative allows the state to maintain and constantly improve and adapt plans to combat rapidly emerging cyber threats and to implement cybersecurity plans effectively and efficiently,” said Michael G. Leahy, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Information Technology.

To view a copy of the Executive Order please click here.

June 18, 2019
Contact: Patrick Mulford
patrick.mulford@maryland.gov
410-697-9495


Governor Larry Hogan Announces ‘Safe Schools Maryland’ School Safety Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Larry Hogan Announces 

‘Safe Schools Maryland’ 

School Safety Initiative

Safe Schools Maryland-School Safety Tip Line and Mobile App

Launches New School Safety Tip Line and Mobile App For Reporting Threats

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 3, 2018) – Governor Larry Hogan today announced the launch of “Safe Schools Maryland,” a tip line and mobile app designed to streamline reporting of possible threats to students school facilities. The governor made the announcement at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency(MEMA) with student leaders, education officials, law enforcement leaders and others in attendance.

“Incidents of targeted violence at our schools are rarely sudden impulsive acts; instead, in the majority of these incidents, another person was aware of what the student was thinking or planning to do,” said Governor Hogan. “We must remain ever vigilant when it comes to protecting our kids, and we are counting on our local school communities, our students, teachers, and parents to work together with us in these important efforts.”

Students, family members, parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members can anonymously report information to Safe Schools Maryland via a mobile app available for download through the Apple App Store or Google Play, online at www.SafeSchoolsMD.org, or by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233). Trained technicians will respond to reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The tip line staff will share incoming information with appropriate school system officials and staff; law enforcement personnel; fire, emergency, behavioral health, and medical staff; and other partners to help prevent violent or dangerous incidents at schools around the state and provide assistance to students in crisis. Students, parents, teachers, administrative staff, and others should be vigilant and report any activity that makes them feel uncomfortable, nervous, or frightened about the safety of their school, themselves, or others.

In many recent school violence incidents or threats, assailants have exhibited behavior that signaled a potential for violent activity or discussed such activity on social media. Some potential incidents around the country have been thwarted because alert students, parents, school staff, or others reported suspicious behaviors to appropriate authorities.

“Sadly, all too often students, choose to remain silent because they are afraid of retaliation, rejection, or stigmatization by their peers. The troubling result is a ‘code of silence’ in which students suffer harm that could have been prevented if another person had chosen to speak out. We need to empower our students to break that ‘code of silence’,” said Governor Hogan. “If they see unsafe situations or behavior, including threats made in person or on social media, bullying, or a friend who expresses the desire to hurt themselves or others, we need young Marylanders to say something and to do something without fear of retribution for coming forward.”

Governor Hogan has asked MEMA to coordinate the school safety tip line and mobile app in partnership with the Maryland Center for School Safety. MEMA has trained existing staff and is hiring new staff to ensure that tip line calls and reports are answered 24/7.

“We are honored that Governor Hogan has asked MEMA to coordinate the new safety initiative,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This is aligned with MEMA’s mission to coordinate resources from multiple agencies and to be the authoritative source of 24-hour information gathering and dissemination. We are excited to take the lead to help our state, local, and non-government partners make Maryland schools safer as the field of emergency management broadens.”

As part of the announcement, education and public safety officials met with student leaders to discuss the tip line and other possible steps to reduce the likelihood of school violence. The students also had a chance to tour the MEMA facility and learn about MEMA, the State Emergency Operations Center, and The Maryland Joint Operations Center activities as we as actionable steps they can take to be well prepared in the event of an emergency. During their visit to MEMA, students received promotional posters that are also being distributed to schools electronically and will be available on the website, www.SafeSchoolsMD.org. Digital billboards throughout the state will begin displaying Safe Schools Maryland information starting today as part of the campaign launch.

The governor also announced that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) was just awarded $3.6 million in federal school safety grants, which will supplement over $40 million in state funding provided in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. A five-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Maryland to implement the Maryland School Emergency Preparedness Program, a partnership between MSDE, local school systems, MEMA and local emergency managers. In addition, a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will allow MSDE to implement a new violence prevention model in schools across the state.

“Learning simply cannot take place in a school where students and teachers don’t feel safe,” Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools said. “These funds will help Maryland update and modernize emergency operations plans in schools throughout the state, and utilize state-of-the-art techniques to better identify potential threats to student safety.”

Earlier this year, Governor Hogan proposed and enacted landmark school safety legislation, expanding the work of the Maryland Center for School Safety, creating statewide school safety standards requiring standardized training and certification for school resource officers, and requiring each school system in Maryland to develop mental health assessment teams in order to identify students whose behavior may pose a threat to safety and provide interventions.

-###-

CONTACT:

Ed McDonough, 410-446-3333, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov

Jorge Castillo, 443-381-3518, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov


Governor Hogan Rescinds Executive Order 01.01.2018.22

Because the threat to the public health and safety posed by the impact of Hurricane Florence no longer exist in Maryland, Governor Hogan has issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.24, thereby rescinding Executive Order 01.01.2018.22.

 


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