Yesterday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a new series of restrictions upon the ability of Marylanders to behave as though they were a free people. Among the new restrictions imposed on people who are inclined to obey them (I am not one, but, please, no one tell Charlie Three Wives or he will have another sad, please read Insufferable Grifter Tries to Dunk, Gets Nowhere Near the Rim) are limiting social gathering in your own home to no more than ten persons and a requirement for visitors to this benighted and godforsaken socialist hellhole to self-quarantine for ten days. The good news is that state government offices will provide the same level of exceptional services that they always have and that Santa and his elves are exempt from regulations.
This is Hogan’s announcement.
This is from the Maryland state website.
‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’ ORDERS AND ADVISORIES:
With contact tracing consistently showing that family and other social gatherings and out-of-state travel lead to the most cases and the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, Governor Hogan announced the following additional mitigation actions.
- NEW PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY TO LIMIT GATHERINGS TO 10 OR LESS. The Maryland Department of Health issued a public health advisory warning Marylanders against all non-essential activities and holiday gatherings with people outside one’s immediate household. Under this advisory, all Marylanders should refrain from attending public and private gatherings of more than 10 people in one location and should practice physical distancing to the maximum extent possible. Read the advisory.
- EXPANDED TESTING AND QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL. The governor issued an emergency order requiring Marylanders to limit all travel to essential purposes only. All Marylanders who do travel outside of Maryland or any individuals who do travel to Maryland must either obtain a negative COVID-19 test result or self-quarantine for 10 days. This applies to all states, with the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. Read the governor’s order and the companion health directives.
- TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF IN-PERSON CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATIONS, CONTINUATION OF MANDATORY TELEWORK FOR STATE EMPLOYEES. Governor Hogan has directed state agencies to suspend in-person customer service operations for two weeks, beginning Monday, December 21. Telework continues to be mandatory for state employees who are able to telework, and all businesses are strongly encouraged to institute telework over the holidays.
- SANTA CLAUS EXEMPT FROM ALL TRAVEL, TESTING, AND QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS. Today, Governor Hogan issued a special emergency order exempting Santa Claus, the elves from Santa’s workshop, and the reindeer necessary for the operation of Santa’s sleigh from any and all travel, testing, and quarantine requirements. Read the order.
A few observations on this order.
Hogan prefaces his ratcheting up the power of the state at the expense of liberty with this statement: “The post-Thanksgiving surge of COVID-19 has not materialized in Maryland to the extent that public health officials predicted, and did not rise to the levels that it has in most other states.” This should not be news to anyone. From the beginning of this self-inflicted crisis, it has been obvious that large gatherings do not result in massive numbers of new infections (read this for what really happened at the infamous “superspreader event” in Sturgis, SD Prominent China Virus Task Force Member Gets All Stompy-Foot Over the Under Classes Not Doing What They are Told). There has been no evidence that any of President Trump’s campaign rallies resulted in more than a trivial number of infections (see Update: Trump’s New Hampshire Rally Didn’t Produce a Single COVID Case, Media Mask Shamers Strangely Silent). What is significant is that Hogan is increasing the campaign of violence against civil liberties in Maryland without even a reason. “Yep, nothing happened after Thanksgiving despite the predictions of Armageddon, and because nothing happened, I’m really going to f*** with you.”
This is the prime example of what we’ve written about over and over. These restrictions have zero to do with your health and 100% to do with using a fake crisis to create carve-outs to civil liberties and to give the state an increased role in areas where it really has no business.
The “public health advisory” limiting gatherings is just anti-science and stupid. Why 10 people? Why not 9 or 11? Are there actual empirical studies that demonstrate 10 is a magic number for the virus? Is a gathering by 10 people in a double-wide trailer the same as 10 people in a 5,000 s.f. home? Why are members of the immediate family less a danger than others? I would bet that statically the overwhelming majority of Wuhan cases originate with close family members.
Probably most ridiculous is the “quarantine” requirements. Hogan exempts DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware from the self-quarantine requirement. What is the scientific underpinning for this decision? Short answer: there is none. This is eyewash. This is blue smoke and mirrors. This is virtue signaling. This is unenforceable. This is stupid.
To underscore the lack of seriousness that marks the Hogan administration, Hogan exempts Santa Claus, his reindeer, and the elves from the quarantine. As the elves in Santa’s workshop don’t travel with him and there is zero scientific evidence that reindeer carry Wuhan we can say that this exemption was as well thought out as the rest of the order.
I live in Maryland. I voted for him twice. I’ve been engaged in Maryland politics for a while. Back in 2007, I founded the top political blog in Maryland, RedMaryland (which shut down this year). I had high hopes for Hogan after the clusterf*** of corruption that was the Martin O’Malley administration. But he’s been a disappointment. He’s always been much more focused on burnishing his “reasonable Republican” credentials to garner favorable mention from the Baltimore Sun than he has been in either building a state party (the number of GOP members in the House of Delegates has decreased from 50 to 42 under Hogan) or enacting policies to increase personal and economic freedom in Maryland. I don’t see where he’s done anything that a Democrat would not have done, and we would not be stuck with the responsibility of defending his policies. Larry Hogan is Mitt Romney, though without the charisma, good looks, great hair, party-building skills, and conservative instincts. He’s a Chris Christie but without either moral courage or dazzling physique.
There are rumors, I think started by Hogan’s inner circle, that he will run for president in 2024. I’ll just lay this marker out here right now. Don’t even try it. And I’d really, really like my two votes for you back.