coronavirus

2 Silver Spring Businesses Closed for Social Distancing Violations; Gov. Hogan Urges Enforcement

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says a few businesses are "flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health," jeopardizing the state's recovery

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Maryland's governor is keeping a close eye on bars and restaurants as the state’s coronavirus numbers inch up, particularly among young people.

Gov. Larry Hogan says more and more COVID-19 cases are now linked to places that are not following health rules.

Hogan urged local leaders to increase their enforcement in a letter released Tuesday. He said inspectors should warn or even close businesses that are "flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health."

"We cannot allow a small segment of willful violators to squander the collective efforts of the overwhelming majority of Maryland citizens and businesses," the letter read.

Montgomery County officials have already been cracking down on local establishments and closed two businesses in Silver Spring for not maintaining adequate social distancing.

Health officials on Sunday closed and suspended the liquor licenses of Society Lounge and Republic Garden, both on Georgia Avenue.

The Montgomery County Department of Health says they will not be allowed to reopen until a safety requirement plan is submitted and approved.

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At least 12 states have had to reintroduce restrictions on bars and restaurants due to non-compliance and a spike in infections.

Hogan says he doesn't want to be forced to do that in  Maryland. But if cases continue to rise, that option could be on the table.

Under current emergency orders, bars and restaurants can open for seated service only in Maryland, with capacity and social distancing rules.

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