BETHESDA, Md. — Frustrated with people ignoring social distancing recommendations, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order Monday. That means Marylanders can only leave their homes for "essential activities."
The Governor said this comes after multiple unheeded recommendations for people to remain home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"In spite of the rapid escalation of this crisis... some people are still choosing to ignore those executive orders and directives," Hogan said. "Those individuals are endangering themselves and fellow citizens."
Hardware stores and grocery stores have still been packed, with lines wrapping around the outside of the building. Multiple people who have visited places like Home Depot said it was impossible to practice social distancing with the crowds.
Hogan is hoping this order will quell the large crowds.
Below, a look at the line stretching around the building at the Germantown Home Depot:
Not every "essential activity" was spelled out in the order, so WUSA9 asked Montgomery County officials to clarify:
Can you leave the house to buy paint to paint a bedroom?
Can you buy plants and seeds to garden at home?
County officials said, in short: no.
“That’s not an essential activity necessarily, and therefore would not be deemed an appropriate use," said Earl Stoddard, with the county's Emergency Management Department. "The challenge for law enforcement will be able to weed that out. They’ve been given some discretion.”
Before the stay-at-home order, Maryland State Police said they had responded to 277 calls for non-compliance.
Hogan said they will be enforcing this even more aggressive directive.
WUSA9 visited the Bethesda Strosniders Hardware store to find out what people were buying. Would they be items deemed "essential" under the new order?
General Manager Lee Roeder said most people have been purchasing sanitizing supplies – which does comply.
“What we’ve been seeing for the last several weeks is people coming in to buy toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning essentials, and every day we have product coming in from our suppliers," Roeder said.
Like one man, who was shopping with gloves on.
"We have gloves of course, trying to wear more gloves, and disinfectant 409, and we’re on the hunt for Clorox wipes. It’s the one thing we can’t find anywhere," he said.
An elderly woman roaming the garden section, however, was there for other reasons.
“I’m shopping for plants to cheer me up, because I’m gardening more than usual now," she said.
In light of the order, some shoppers said they would change their habits and stay home more.
“We used to go for walks. That will stop. I went for a bike ride yesterday. That will stop.”
Roeder said Strosniders will keep its doors open as long as it can to make sure people can buy what they need.