While I and my fellow state representatives continue the important legislative work in Annapolis before adjourning Wednesday, March 18th, the Covid-19 public health emergency evolves minute-by-minute. In an effort to keep you informed, I am updating federal, state and local information as it becomes available.
Please read this information and share it with family, friends, and neighbors. While there is no need to panic, we must take this pandemic seriously. We are all in this together, and it will take each of us to help to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus.
From the Maryland General Assembly
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic that has infected nearly 200,000 people worldwide, and a national emergency has been declared. As of March 16, 2020, Maryland has reported 37 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
Out of an abundance of caution, Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland will operate under a state of emergency and will take additional precautionary measures to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Click here for a complete list of actions the state is taking in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
House and Senate leadership are united in their support of the Governor in his effort to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson have decided to take unprecedented, but necessary, measures to slow the spread of the virus in Maryland. As such, the 2020 Legislative Session will adjourn Sine Die on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The General Assembly will reconvene in May for a special session to finalize any outstanding legislative work.
This decision to adjourn the legislative session did not come lightly. House and Senate leadership coordinated to make a decision that was informed, research-based, and promptly responded to the current public health crisis.
As legislators, we have a constitutional duty to pass the budget, and we have an obligation to work for the people of Maryland. We are working with House and Senate chairs to prioritize legislation in each committee and pass budget bills.
The Governor has taken measures to encourage social distancing and reduce contact like closing schools, prohibiting mass gatherings, closing racetracks and casinos, and most recently closing bars and restaurants. The Maryland General Assembly supports the Governor in taking proactive actions to protect our most vulnerable and limit the spread of the virus.
We have witnessed in other states and countries how rapidly the virus can spread when the governments fail to take immediate, preventative measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Public health research shows that the more steps we can take right now to prevent transmission of the virus, the better off we’ll be.
The Speaker and Senate President have established a special workgroup, the Joint Committee on the COVID-19 Response, to monitor the effects of the virus and advise the General Assembly on the steps to take to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Our job as elected officials is to lead by example. By adjourning the legislative session early, we’re demonstrating our commitment to protecting the health of our residents, and we hope to serve as a model for our local governments and neighboring states. Practicing social distancing now can save lives later.
The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America:
15 Days to Slow the Spread
· Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
· If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
· If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
· If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
· If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
· If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
· Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus:
1. Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
2. If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.