Maryland governor tells counties to crack down on businesses 'flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health'

Maryland governor tells counties to crack down on businesses 'flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health'
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday instructed county officials to crack down on bars and restaurants in the state that violate social distancing requirements.

Hogan in a letter to the officials noted “concerning trends” in the state’s coronavirus data, highlighting a positivity rate from coronavirus tests that is now 84 percent higher for residents under 35 than those over 35.

Hogan also said that at least a dozen states have reclosed restaurants and bars due to social distancing violations, and cites his June executive order on reopening such establishments. That order calls for bars and restaurants to only be opened for seated service and, where it applies, to close every other booth and impose a six-person limit on table seating.

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“The vast majority of bars and restaurants in our state are in compliance, but some are flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health. You have the responsibility to enforce these laws,” Hogan wrote.

“Violators should be warned, fined, have actions taken regarding their licenses, or closed if necessary. Local health departments, local liquor boards and inspectors, and local law enforcement agencies must work together to ensure public health is protected,” he added.

Hogan added that the state’s recovery is dependent on “active and aggressive” local enforcement of the order, adding “we cannot allow a small segment of willful violators to squander the collective efforts of the overwhelming majority of Maryland citizens and businesses.”

Maryland on Tuesday confirmed 733 new cases of the virus, the most in the state since early June.