Maryland governor orders closings of state’s casinos, tracks

March 15, 2020 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday ordered the closing of Maryland’s six casinos, racetracks and simulcast betting facilities in response to the coronavirus.

The closures take effect at midnight Monday.

“This situation continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” Hogan said in a statement. “These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.”

The governor also said that failure to prohibit large gatherings is a crime, and will be enforced if businesses fail to comply. Last week, Hogan announced a prohibition against gatherings of more than 250 people.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will work with casinos to facilitate an orderly shutdown of operations.

The closings will remain in effect until a state of emergency has ended or until superseded by other orders, the governor’s office said. The order does not apply to hotels adjacent to casinos.