Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced more restrictions Tuesday as coronavirus cases in the state continue to rise, including prohibiting fans at college and professional football stadiums and racetracks, testing nursing home employees twice a week and residents once a week and closing indoor dining at bars and restaurants by 10 p.m.
All of the restrictions in Hogan’s latest executive order will be in effect by 10 p.m. Friday.
Hogan, who held two press conferences last week pleading with residents, small-business owners and local officials to enforce violations to combat the virus, did so again Tuesday.
“It’s not fake news. It’s not going to magically disappear just because we’re all tired of it,” Hogan said during a press conference at the State House in Annapolis. “We are in a war right now and the virus is winning.”
Hogan instituted orders last week such as decreasing bar and restaurant capacity from 75% to 50%. Those establishments can stay open beyond 10 p.m. for delivery, takeout and drive-thru services.
Some jurisdictions already incorporated stricter regulations.
Bars and restaurants already received orders to close by 11 p.m. in Baltimore City.
In Prince George’s County, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people and 10 people indoors that include public and private facilities such as residences, bars and restaurants.
The 10-person indoor restriction will be based on one person per 200 square feet. For instance, a basement of a 1,000-square-foot church could only allow a maximum of five people inside.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health issued an emergency order to allow hospitals that are nearly full or at capacity to transfer patients to other hospitals.
Visiting will be limited at hospitals and nursing homes, excepted for obstetrics, a parent or guardian seeing a child and end-of-life care.
Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief with University of Maryland Medical Center, said this allows hospitals to decrease overcrowding of facilities with more coronavirus patients.
“I’m certain it will improve ICU bed flow,” he said. “This is about getting the right patient to the right place, in the right of amount of time to receive the correct level of medical care.”
The announcement comes with Maryland exceeding 1,000 or more confirmed coronavirus cases for a 13th straight day.
On Tuesday, the state reported 2,149 confirmed cases, which marked the second-highest figure since March. The total statewide is 169,805.
Another 26 residents died, the most reported in a 24-hour period since June. Deaths statewide are now 4,186.
Hospitalizations stood above 1,000 for the first time since June 7. Hogan said 19 hospitals statewide are above 90% capacity.
“I’m pleading with the people of our state to stand together a while longer and help us battle this surging virus,” he said. “Your family and friends are counting on you. Your neighbors are counting on you and your fellow Marylanders are counting on you to stay Maryland strong.”