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30 Mar, 2020 16:20

Maryland ups the ante on coronavirus quarantine enforcement with $5,000 fine or one year in PRISON

Maryland ups the ante on coronavirus quarantine enforcement with $5,000 fine or one year in PRISON

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued a stay-at-home order for state residents, warning that violations are punishable by fines of $5,000, a year’s prison time, or both, the heftiest sentence yet as states strengthen penalties.

Hogan effectively locked down Maryland residents on Monday, declaring that as of 8pm that night leaving one’s home for any other reason than “an essential job or for an essential reason such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes” would incur the steep punishment.

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The stay-at-home order includes a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people and the closure of all “non-essential” businesses, echoing similar decrees by other states and cities. However, while New York City and Chicago have adopted $500 fines for repeat violators of the six-foot “social distancing” rule, their punishments are a slap on the wrist compared to Hogan’s sentence.

This is a deadly public health crisis,” the governor explained at a press conference. “We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so.”

Maryland has 1,414 diagnosed cases of coronavirus, while 16 people have died of the disease. The state reported 174 new cases on Monday. Total cases in the US number 144,146, with 2,572 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Later on Monday, Virginia joined its neighbor in the lockdown, with Governor Ralph Northam ordering residents to stay at home effective until June 2010. Virginians will be permitted to venture outdoors to buy groceries and medicines, go to work, care for family members, seek medical help, and engage in “outdoor activity,” but must follow “strict social distancing requirements” and are forbidden from gathering in groups of 10 or more, Northam warned.

More than 1,020 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in Virginia, and 25 deaths have been attributed to the disease as of Monday.

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