A Maryland man has been sentenced to one year in jail for throwing a large party, violating the state's COVID-19 guidelines, the state's attorney's office announced Friday. Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, threw a large party at a home in Hughesville, Maryland in March, according to a press release from the Charles County State's Attorney Office.
Large gatherings were strictly prohibited under Governor Larry Hogan's State of Emergency and Large Gathering Orders.
Officers responded to a report of a large party and found 50 people at the residence, authorities said. Officers said Myers was argumentative when told his party violated the state's mandate, according to the press release. Myers did eventually agree to disband his party.
However, less than one week later, officers responded again to Myers' residence for another report of a party exceeding 50 people.
When officers told Myers to disband the party, he allegedly claimed he and his guests had the right to congregate. "Beyond being argumentative, Myers directed his guests to stay in defiance of Governor Hogan's Orders and the officers' lawful orders to disband the party," the release reads. "Officers tried to reason with Myers and obtain his cooperation to no avail. Myers was then apprehended."
Myers was convicted of two counts of failure to comply with an emergency order. He was sentenced to one year in jail, plus a $5,000 fine. He also received 3 years unsupervised probation.
An executive order banning gatherings larger than 10 people was put into effect on March 23 and amended on March 30. The order also put in place a stay-at-home order, which required all people to stay in their homes except for essential activities or when conducting business.
"A person who knowingly and willfully violates this Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both," the executive order states.
Maryland has slowly reopened and on Thursday, Gov. Hogan's office announced the statewide positivity rate fell to a record-low of just 2.57 percent. Overall, Maryland has reported more than 123,000 coronavirus cases and 3,790 deaths, according to the state's department of health.
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