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Hogan launches COVID-19 'compliance units,' calls on Marylanders to wear masks, keep distance during the holidays

The goal will be to use state and local police to keep people from breaking COVID-19 restrictions during the holidays.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Police units will be on high alert for businesses and Marylanders breaking COVID-19 rules, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. The governor launched a new social distance task force initiative on Monday during a news conference from Annapolis.

The goal of these "High Visibility Compliance Units" will be to use state and local police to keep people from breaking COVID-19 restrictions during the holiday season, Hogan said.

Silver Spring, Maryland, will be one of the cities that these units will be actively engaged in.

Hogan said the main goal of these units will be to educate people. He stressed how important social distancing will be for Marylanders due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

“Widespread community transmission in every corner of our state," Hogan said after mentioning that hospitalizations are up 80% in the last two weeks. 

As of Monday, 4,293 Marylanders have died from COIVD-19.

At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, a text will be sent to Marylanders to remind them of the state's new COVID-19 restrictions. Hogan said it's the second time the state's emergency digital message system has been used since he's been in office. 

The state will also launch a PSA health campaign on COVID-19 restrictions, both on social media and television, Hogan said.

Last Tuesday, Hogan announced a sweeping set of new restrictions on businesses and health care facilities as the state seeks to curb the ongoing surge of new coronavirus cases.

RELATED: 'Maryland is in the red zone' | Gov. Hogan rolling state back to Phase 2 capacities as coronavirus cases surge

Hogan has called on the federal government to do more to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus. 

The governor also said Monday that he believes Maryland is doing better than most states because of Maryland’s ability to test, which includes getting tests from South Korea. 

Hogan has faced some criticism from state legislators and President Donald Trump for purchasing tests last spring from South Korea that could not be distributed to the public. 

RELATED: 'Stop golfing and concede' | Gov. Hogan spars with Trump on Twitter, calls for Republicans to move forward with election results

Maryland will have a 24/7 phone line and compliance office if people have questions about COVID-19 guidance, said Hogan. 

Marylanders can report the breaking of COVID-19 restrictions at 1-833-979-2266 or prevent.covid@maryland.gov.

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