Governor deploying state police to enforce COVID orders

Gov. Larry Hogan, seen here in a photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor, holds a news conference Monday, Nov. 23 announcing the deployment of additional state troopers to enforce COVID-19 mandates.

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan is encouraging Marylanders to call the police on neighbors and businesses who are not complying with COVID-19 mask and social distancing orders.

Hogan also is deploying state troopers throughout Maryland to enforce COVID edicts in response to the recent rise in cases and hospitalizations.

“We will be sending additional state police to every single county,” Hogan said.

The governor said state police will be deployed to downtown and main street areas starting Wednesday, Nov. 25 including in Baltimore and the Eastern Shore to help local police enforce virus mandates.

Hogan outlined the state’s latest coronavirus moves during a press briefing Monday in Annapolis.

“We also are launching a wide scale, all-hands-on-deck compliance, education and enforcement operation,” Hogan said of the efforts on Thanksgiving week.

Maryland State Police “High Visibility Compliance Units” will be assisting local authorities and police with “compliance checks,” according to the governor.

Hogan and other government officials have been pushing for more compliance with COVID orders and threatening jail time, fines and business closures for those who disobey.

Maryland and other states have seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid a surge in testing and concerns about the virus.

The state has conducted more than 4.1 million tests since the pandemic began in the U.S. in the march. That includes 173,577 new tests conducted since Nov. 19, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

There are currently 1,276 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 statewide with 289 of those patients in intensive care units (ICU). Hogan said that is the highest ICU level in the state since June.

“This is very scary stuff. It really is,” said Hogan.

Hogan also countered libertarian arguments opposing state mandates to wear masks and social distance.

“There is no constitutional right not to wear a mask. We did it in 1918,” said Hogan referring to the Spanish Flu.

New restrictions are happening in other states and regions as COVID fears rise after the 2020 elections.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has also encouraged residents of her state to call the cops on those disobeying COVID orders. Other states and big cities, such as California, Ohio and Newark, New Jersey, are imposing curfews. There have been protests in California, United Kingdom and Europe over curfews and other new coronavirus restrictions.

Philadelphia is banning most private gatherings while Los Angeles County is shutting down outdoor and indoor dining in response to fears of the virus and rise in cases.

The governor appeared at the Monday briefing with Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Restaurant Association of Maryland President and CEO Marshall Weston.

The governor touted Baltimore County’s increased COVID enforcement efforts and again discouraged Thanksgiving travel and larger family get-togethers.

Olszewski also pressed for more compliance with government COVID orders and discouraged Thanksgiving functions.

“Skip the hugs and large family gatherings now so you can have them in the future,” he said.

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