The governor is exempting Santa Claus and his crew from the new travel directives.

Governor Larry Hogan issued a new directive to Maryland residents ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, stay home. In a press conference from the statehouse in Annapolis on December 17, Governor Hogan issued an emergency order regarding out-of-state travel for residents, decreased the limit on gatherings, and announced a $180-million stimulus package for Maryland businesses.

Hogan also issued an order exempting Santa Claus, the reindeer, and the elves from the new travel order. 

With Christmas just a few days away, Governor Hogan is asking Marylanders to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. A new order requires any Marylanders who leave the state and anyone coming into Maryland to either quarantine for 10 days or provide a negative COVID test. The order does not apply to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

“Our strongest defense against this virus continues to be the cooperation and the vigilance of the people of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “However, this holiday season could present perhaps our toughest challenge yet. Our message today is simple: you are safer at home for the holidays this year. Making difficult sacrifices during these next few weeks will absolutely help to keep your family, loved ones, and your fellow Marylanders safe.”

In addition to the travel order, the Governor has issued an advisory to limit public and private gatherings from 25 down to 10 people and is asking businesses to have their employees telework whenever possible. All Maryland state agencies will close to the public and telework for two weeks beginning on December 21.

Courtesy, Governor Larry Hogan's office

To help Maryland families and businesses suffering from the pandemic, Governor Hogan is issuing a new round of emergency funding. A total of $180 million will be available including $50 million for hotels and hospitality businesses, $30 million for bars and restaurants, $15 for entertainment venues, $5 million for rural businesses, $40 million for health care providers, and $40 to the temporary cash assistance benefit fund. The fund provides $100 temporary assistance to families for the next six months. The Governor also extended a moratorium on foreclosures through the end of January.

Governor Hogan wanted to assure children that even in the midst of a pandemic, Santa Claus would be allowed to visit homes in Maryland. An emergency order exempts Santa and the elves from testing and quarantining upon arrival on Christmas Eve.