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Senate Passes Relief Measures For Maryland Residents During COVID-19 Outbreak

Rachel Baye

The state Senate voted Monday to pass a bill that aims to provide some relief to residents from some of the effects of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The bill prohibits copays or cost sharing for COVID-19 tests, treatment or an eventual vaccine. For those without insurance, the state will pick up the tab.

The bill also authorizes the governor to prohibit retailers from price gouging on products such as food, fuel, water, medicine, medical supplies and cleaning supplies.

And it extends unemployment benefits to anyone who is quarantined or temporarily out of work because their employer is closed as a result of the outbreak.

“The unemployment benefits are really going to kick in with the bars closing down, the restaurants closing down, and the exercising places,” said Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, a Baltimore County Democrat. She referenced an executive order that Gov. Larry Hogan announced earlier on Monday, closing bars, restaurants and gyms beginning at 5 p.m.

Once the same version has passed both the House and the Senate and Hogan signs it, the legislation will take effect immediately.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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