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Stay informed on what’s going on locally, statewide, nationally with COVID-19

(March 27, 2020) Here is what has happened locally, statewide and nationally over the last week. 

Local 

March 19, 2020 — Mayor Rick Meehan urges citizens and visitors to stay home and stay away from Ocean City. 

“While we look forward to the time when we can welcome you again, now is not the time to visit Ocean City,” Mayor Meehan cautioned. “We are urging citizens to stay home, be responsible and avoid large crowds, including on our beach and Boardwalk. We will continue to monitor this changing situation and will not hesitate to take additional actions necessary to protect our community.”

March 20, 2020 — Worcester County Health Department reports the county’s first positive case of COVID-19. 

City officials close all public buildings to the public. 

March 22, 2020 — With the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly climbing in Maryland, the Ocean City Council and Mayor Rick Meehan decide to close off the beach and the Boardwalk until April 15. 

Residents may exercise on the Boardwalk in groups of no more than two adults and minor children. 

Activities such as surfing are included in the exemptions, and Boardwalk restaurants may remain open, but conduct carryout services only. 

State

March 19, 2020 — Gov. Larry Hogan announces a series of new executive orders further limiting previous prohibitions.

Gatherings were limited to no more than 10 people and all shopping malls, bowling alleys and pools were ordered to close. 

Liquor stores, restaurants and bars, however, were given permission to begin alcohol delivery and carryout services. 

Hogan also restricted access to BWI airport to ticketed passengers and employees only, and citizens were encouraged to use transit for essential travel. 

Delivery truck weight capacity restrictions were relaxed, and those transporting COVID-19 related medical supplies and goods may exceed capacity by up to 15 percent. 

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents was urged to shift classes to online. 

Hogan signed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection of 2020, which granted the governor authority to prohibit actions such as workplace termination because of COVID-19 contraction or quarantine, and price gouging of essential goods such as food, fuel, medicine and cleaning products. 

Maryland received official designation from the Small Business Administration for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, allowing small businesses to borrow money to help pay bills, payrolls and accounts payable. 

March 20, 2020 — Hogan urges spring break travelers to stay home and self-quarantine for at least 14 days. 

Later that day, the governor announced Maryland’s second COVID-19 related death: a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions. 

March 23, 2020 — Hogan ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses. 

The governor also announced a $175 million COVID-19 relief package, aimed to aid small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. 

Hogan signs an emergency order officially prohibiting price gouging.

The governor also authorized a fast-track process for COVID-19 test kit development, which bypasses Federal Drug Administration approval, greatly reducing the development process by months. 

March 25, 2020 — Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he has requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the state. 

If granted, the state would receive an array of federal funding programs to assist the state. 

Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, said schools would be closed for an additional four weeks. 

Federal

March 19, 2020 — The United States Labor Department announced a 30 percent increase in unemployment claims, as reported by the New York Times. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom becomes the first governor to issue a stay-at-home order. Sixteen governors followed suit as of Tuesday, March 24. 

Senate Republicans put forth a blueprint for a $1 trillion economic stimulus package that includes loans to large and small businesses, large corporate tax cuts and checks of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for families earning less than $99,000 a year.

However, payments would follow a scale format, and up to 22 million people earning less than $40,000 a year would likely not receive any aid, the Washington Post reported.

March 20, 2020 — The Washington Post reported that U.S. financial markets saw one of its worst weeks since the 2008 financial crisis. 

“The Dow shed 913.21 points, or 4.6 percent, to close at 19,173.98 — erasing all Trump-era gains,” the Washington Post article states. “The S&P closed down 4.3 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid nearly 3.8 percent.”

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin announced on Twitter that the tax filing deadline would be moved from April 15 to July 15. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced border closures to non-essential travelers from Canada and Mexico effective midnight last Saturday. 

March 24, 2020 — The stock market rebounds, and the Dow soars by 1,000 points. 

The Washington Post reported that this was likely because investors were confident that Congress would soon pass a $2 trillion stimulus package. 

President Trump also announced that the Real ID deadline would be extended past the Oct. 1 deadline. 

Real ID was created under the Real ID Act in 2005, which was designed to prevent terrorist attacks and prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining a license. 

Trump did not specify when the new deadline would be, but said that information would be forthcoming. 

March 25, 2020 — Senate passes a $2 trillion relief package, moves on to House chambers.  

The deal dwarfs the $800 billion stimulus passed in 2008 during the housing crisis. 

It offers grants and loans to large and small businesses suffering from the pandemic shutdowns and travel bans, as well as offer direct cash to adults and families. 

Single Americans who earn $75,000 or less would receive $1,200, married couples earning $150,000 or less would receive $2,400 and parents would receive an additional $500 per child under the age of 17.

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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