Gov. Larry Hogan announced substantial economic relief on Friday for residents hurt financially by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An executive order from the governor temporarily prohibits mortgage lenders from initiating the foreclosure process. Nearly 70 of the state’s banks and financial institutions have agreed to a program to provide a 90-day forbearance and deferral period on mortgages, he said.
During this period, no late fees will be charged, and there will be no negative reporting to credit bureaus. Residents must contact their lender to take advantage of this relief.
“To avoid the serious health, welfare, and safety consequences that may result if Marylanders lose their housing as a result of COVID-19, it is necessary and reasonable to impose a moratorium on certain evictions and prevent the initiation of residential foreclosures,” Hogan’s executive order reads in part.
The order expands to include industrial and commercial evictions and also prohibits the repossession of cars, trucks and mobile homes, Hogan said during Friday’s news briefing.
Hogan’s office is also directing the Maryland commissioner of financial regulation to suspend certain lending limits for Maryland banks in some cases in an effort to make more credit available to struggling small businesses.
In addition, during this state of emergency, all executive state agencies will suspend debt collection activities.
“We’re going to continue to do everything that we possibly can to help get Marylanders through this,” Hogan said.
He announced and signed an executive order last month that also protects renters from eviction, if they can demonstrate they’ve lost income due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Hogan also announced three vehicle emission testing facilities were opened Monday as coronavirus drive-through testing and screening locations, at Glen Burnie, Waldorf and Bel Air.
Two additional testing sites should be opening soon in Columbia and White Oak, Hogan added.
The governor also asked that at noon on Sunday Marylanders statewide gather for a moment of silence for those who have died, who are sick and those on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Hogan and other state officials said it’s still uncertain when coronavirus cases will peak in the state.
“I wish I could tell you when we’re going to turn the corner, when you’ll be able to go back to work, to school or to church, or when any of us will be able to get back to living a normal life again,” Hogan said during Friday’s briefing. “Unfortunately, I’m not able to do that. We simply don’t know just how bad things are going to get, or exactly how long this is going to last.”