Local and state law enforcement officers have responded to more than 400 calls claiming violations of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s March 30 stay-at-home order intended to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, the Baltimore Sun has reported.
Violators face up to $5,000 fine in fines and up to one year in prison. The charge is a misdemeanor.
The order is the latest attempt by the governor to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus among Maryland residents. The governor had previously banned gatherings of more than 10 people and closed non-essential businesses and activities.
Residents are encouraged to call 311 to report incidences of non-compliance. In addition, state police are conducting compliance checks — nearly 6,600 business and crowd compliance checks since March 24, according to the Sun.
The “stay at home” order comes as Maryland has reported more than 1,400 cases of COVID-19 cases.
What is allowed?
Maryland residents can engage in activities that involve caring for themselves and their household, including pets and livestock. Permissible activities include:
- Picking up groceries or food, including carryout, or supplies for the home;
- Going out on walks, hikes, running or biking;
- Going to a school to pick up learning materials and meals;
- Going to work if your workplace is allowed to remain open as an essential business;
- Attending gatherings of less than 10 people.
Many of the state’s playgrounds and parks are closed with Baltimore City parks workers going so far as to remove basketball rims and tennis nets to discourage players.
When going out, Maryland residents, including those who live in Baltimore and Ocean City, are expected to comply with the “social distancing” recommendations by health experts of keeping at least six feet away from others and not gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
The Sun provided short descriptions of the calls that Maryland law enforcement has received.
Anne Arundel County Police said officers have responded to more than 70 complaints regarding calls for large groups.
Baltimore County officials have received 162 complaints there. In two cases, officials issued cease and desist orders at a gym and a barbershop in the county.
Police in Charles County arrested a man after he hosted a gathering of 60 people at his home. State police charged a Lutherville man after he hosted a party with teens at a Westminster hotel.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office dispersed a handful of gatherings, including kids playing basketball in a Joppa park, people gathering to play soccer at a school field in Bel Air and a field in Jarrettsville, a party in Edgewood and a group at a church in Abingdon.
Howard County Police have said that officers responded to five incidents, including a group playing soccer, another playing basketball, children playing, and a crowd gathered outside a shopping area.
State troopers are not making traffic stops just to find out if a driver’s travel is essential, but they are allowed to develop information during the performance of their duties to determine if an individual is engaged in non-essential travel.
If you’ve been charged with violating Maryland’s COVID-19 laws forbidding large gatherings or closing non-essential businesses, a Baltimore/Ocean City Coronavirus defense attorney can help. The consultation is free. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick can help. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 410-881-4022, the law office at 410-881-4022 or the website for a free consultation.