(March 20, 2020) The Ocean City Police Department plans to work closely with the community in enforcing Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive orders.
“Our overall goal is voluntary compliance,” police spokeswoman Ashley Miller said.
Hogan announced a series of executive orders on Monday that required the closure of all bars, restaurants, fitness centers and theaters, and prohibited gatherings of 50 or more people.
While extreme, Hogan said the measures were necessary to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland, which has 86 confirmed cases as of midday Wednesday.
Shortly after Hogan’s announcement, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Woodrow W. Jones III said state troopers would enforce the governor’s orders.
Jones expressed his hope that everyone would comply voluntarily, but warned that his department was prepared to arrest business owners, customers and citizens who did not comply with Hogan’s directives.
Violators face fines of up to $5,000 or one year in jail, Jones said.
“If a need for law enforcement action arises, we will take the appropriate action,” he said. “We are first conferencing with state’s attorneys and local law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs across Maryland. We will work in support of and partnership with those local authorities.”
Ocean City’s police force hopes to avoid arrests, and urges local businesses and event organizers to abide by the governor’s orders voluntarily.
If a violation is reported, the department will send an officer to verify it, document the scene with photos, video and witness statements, request that any gathering disperse, meet with management or the sponsor of the event to obtain voluntary compliance, provide a copy of the executive order to said management or sponsor, get personal information and obtain a criminal summons for service if the violation is not remedied.
Unless a violator commits an act such as disorderly conduct or assault, the police department likely will not make any arrests, Miller said.
“We have had several businesses reach out prior to the closure order asking how they could help and asking for guidance. We hope that since many places were being proactive with reaching out ahead of time that they follow the current order that is in place.”
To remain updated on local action and mandates regarding COVID-19, visit https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/ coronavirus-information/.
Local business owners with questions or concerns can visit the city’s COVID-19 page and submit them via a question email box., or by calling 410-520-5279