Maryland State Governor Larry Hogan issued an official lockdown order for all residents that took effect Monday evening at 8 pm.
All residents were ordered to remain indoors unless they were employed in essential work; non-essential workplaces were advised to shift to the internet if at all possible.
“We are no longer asking or suggesting Marylanders stay home; we are directing them to do so,” Hogan said in a statement.
Those who violate the order are to face misdemeanor charges that carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
One is allowed to leave home in order to buy food or to seek medical care, NBCTV-4 Washington reported. Victims of domestic violence can leave their homes and seek help, it was emphasized, as well as leave to care for a relative or friend, and to care for livestock or pets.
“Every single Marylander can be a hero just by staying home,” Hogan added.
Residents who returned home recently from nearby states were asked to self-quarantine for a 14-day period.
There were 1,413 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Maryland on Monday.
The state has received a federal disaster designation, which will open up more funding for state and local governments and nonprofits, the governor’s office said in a release.