|Dear Tourism Partner,
As you are aware, Maryland is being impacted by the COVID-19 and the current status is fluctuating every day. Maryland is currently operating under a state of emergency, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has elevated its state response activation level.
At the direction of Governor Hogan, state agencies have ramped up response and preparedness efforts across all levels of government. The governor has also issued a directive requiring state health carriers to waive all cost-sharing regarding testing for COVID-19.
The governor is taking very proactive steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across our state. This week, he signed emergency legislation granting him the authority to tap into the state’s rainy day fund; announced the formation of a Coronavirus Response Team that will advise the administration on important health and emergency management decisions as this situation continues to evolve; and issued new guidance for state employees that includes suspending all business-related out-of-state travel.
Please know these measures, particularly as they relate to travel, were put in place in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents and visitors. It is our hope that by taking these actions, we can lessen the impact and get our state back on track more quickly.
In addition, we are very aware of the impact of cancellations, change of travel plans, and the public’s desire to “shelter in place” has on the tourism industry. The risk factor remains for those that recently traveled to geographic areas of concern; have had close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19; and those who care for people with COVID-19.
We will continue to utilize our social media channels to promote those activities that people have always enjoyed in Maryland – our water, seafood, and scenic byways. Plus, we are pushing our plan for your summer vacation message. Our media buys are not scheduled to begin until next month. It is our hope that by that time, the virus will have run its course, and our award-winning ad campaign will encourage people that have a pent-up desire to travel to come to Maryland.
We will continue to track COVID-19 and will pass along relevant information as we receive it. Please be assured that our state’s preparedness builds on decades of planning, experience, and expertise gained from previous and ongoing public health events.
Maryland Commerce Secretary