The largest rise in coronavirus case counts has been from people attending family gatherings.

Governor Larry Hogan has amended the mask requirements for indoor and outdoor areas across the state. In a press conference on July 29 at the State House in Annapolis, Governor Hogan expanded the mask order to include indoor public spaces. It will go into effect on Friday, July 31, at 5 p.m.

The state also issued a travel advisory warning residents to stay away from nine states that are considered hotspots. This new guidance comes in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases around Maryland.

The state is also pushing “pause” on Maryland’s recovery plan and won’t advance to the third phase until numbers improve. The state’s contact tracing system has been able to identify trends in the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland. According to data from interviews by the contact tracing teams, the largest number of people who have tested positive, 44 percent, did so after attending a family gathering. The second largest group, 23 percent, tested positive after going to a house party, and 21 percent got the virus after going to an outdoor event. 

why masks matter

Courtesy Maryland Department of Health

Hogan stressed that social events with friends and family may give people a false sense of security.

“I think it's very easy to feel comfortable that just because you haven’t gone out to what you thought of is a high risk activity, that you’re perfectly safe. But even I am guilty of this myself. I had my daughters, son-in-laws and four grandkids over. Sitting in a room, watching movies with the kids without masks, eating popcorn, hanging out, eating dinner, not thinking we could have been spreading the virus.”

The governor is also discouraging residents from traveling to the following states with high coronavirus numbers including Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arizona, Nebraska, Idaho, and Alabama. If you must travel to one of these states, it is recommended that you quarantine upon returning. There's currently no order in place preventing people from those states to travel to Maryland.

Read Hogan's full order here.