The state will ramp up police presence in Maryland cities to enforce COVID-19 guidelines beginning the day before Thanksgiving, Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a Monday press conference.

The announcement comes as the state reaches a 6.88 percent seven-day positivity rate, and as hospitalizations have increased by 80 percent over the past two weeks, Hogan said. 

The efforts will emphasize “compliance, education and enforcement,” Hogan said. Additional Maryland State Police troopers will be assigned in every county to partner with local officials to investigate violations of state law. “High-visibility compliance units” will be detailed to popular downtown areas including Silver Spring, Baltimore City, Towson and Bel Air, among others.

Hogan also announced an emergency alert will be sent to cell phones across the state on Wednesday at 5 p.m. to remind residents about prevention measures and law enforcement actions.

Hogan strongly discouraged Thanksgiving travel, adding that a AAA survey found that nearly 90 percent of Marylanders are not planning to travel over the holiday.

In the press conference, Hogan also cited multiple arrests made after employees at a Cold Stone Creamery in Anne Arundel County said they were assaulted by patrons who refused to wear masks on Nov. 7. 

“We can’t let a few bad actors spoil it for the others who have been doing such a great job,” Hogan said.
This story has been updated.