The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Maryland in March 2020. The first three cases of the virus were reported in Montgomery County on March 5, 2020. As of September 25, 2020, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reported 122,359 positive cases and 3,772 deaths in the state.
On March 5, Governor Larry Hogan confirmed the first three cases of coronavirus in Montgomery County: one married couple in their 70s and an unrelated woman in her 50s. All three patients were on the same river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. Upon their return, one of the patients traveled to suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, meeting with students. This prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Central Bucks School District to temporarily close three schools in that district to undergo cleaning. Hogan declared a state of emergency after announcing the state’s first positive tests. Salisbury University suspended their study abroad programs in Italy and South Korea on March 5.
Governor Hogan ordered all of the state’s casinos, racetracks, and off-track betting to cease operations on March 15, with the shutdown beginning on March 16 at 12:01 am. In addition, Governor Hogan also warned in a statement that bars and restaurants are to follow the ban of gatherings of over 250 people in advance of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. He stated that if any bar or restaurant failed to comply with the restrictions set, they would be charged with a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of one year in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
On September 1, Governor Hogan placed the state in Stage 3, effective September 4 at 5:00 pm. On September 3, The University of Maryland at College Park suspended all athletic activities after 46 athletes on 10 teams tested positive. On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the positivity rate in the area surrounding Ocean City was 8.1%, twice as high as the rest of the state. On September 14, the City of Salisbury instituted new restrictions on social gatherings due to a spike in ca Indoor gatherings will be limited to 15 individuals and outdoor gatherings limited to 50.
On March 12, Karen Salmon, Superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education, announced that all Maryland public schools were to be closed from March 16 through March 27. Superintendent Salmon announced on March 25 an extended four-week closure, until April 24; Governor Hogan added that the additional four-week closure was “somewhat aspirational” and they would reassess the situation in that time. On April 17, Superintendent Salmon, after consultation with the State Board of Education and public health experts, extended the closure of Maryland public schools through May 15. On May 6, Superintendent Salmon announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019–20 academic school year.
Many schools in the University System of Maryland opened for the 2020–2021 school year allowing remote and in-person instruction. On August 16, Towson University temporarily switched all classes to remote due to positive tests conducted on campus, and on August 26 moved the remainder of the fall semester to remote instruction, closing resident halls. The University of Maryland, College Park began the fall semester on August 31 remotely and plans to start in-person classes on September 14.
Governor Hogan announced an executive order on March 17 that the Maryland primary elections would be postponed. Scheduled to be held April 28, until June 2, with early voting changed to May 21 through May 28. Maryland became the fifth state in the country after Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia to postpone primary elections. The state sent 4 million mail-in ballots and having limited in-person voting for the June 2 primary election.
In March, Major League Baseball canceled the remainder of spring training, and on March 16, they announced that the season will be postponed indefinitely, after the recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, affecting the Baltimore Orioles. In college sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled all winter and spring tournaments, most notably the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, affecting colleges and universities statewide. The 2020 Preakness Stakes are postponed until after Labor Day.