The General Assembly will adjourn Wednesday until the end of May over concerns of coronavirus exposure, legislators announced Sunday.
State Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said lawmakers will focus on high priority bills, including on the state budget and education, The Baltimore Sun reported. The legislature will reconvene in May for a special session.
Jones said that the decision “didn’t come lightly” at a press conference Sunday.
“Public health research shows the more steps we can take right now to prevent transmission, the better off we are,” Jones said.
The impending cessation of legislative activities comes despite measures announced just days ago to crack down on activity inside assembly buildings, including barring members of the public at bill hearings (beside members of the news media) and halting tours of the statehouse, the Washington Post reported Friday.
There are now 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as the disease caused by the coronavirus is known, in Maryland as of Monday, according to a state health department website.
In another new development Sunday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced in an emergency order the closure of all Maryland casinos, racetracks and simulcast betting facilities “indefinitely.”
The closure of gambling facilities joins another order prohibiting large gatherings in places like bars and restaurants in dramatically limiting social gatherings to halt the spread of the disease.
“These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe,” Hogan said in a statement.