Cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase across the country as scientists, researchers, and our government scramble to find a solution. Businesses and communities in all states are working together to promote social distancing and, when possible, are developing products to defend the public health of our nation.
Like many other states after President Trump's announcement to extend the coronavirus guidelines through the month of April, the state of Maryland will enforce stricter "stay-at-home" measures to protect its citizens.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has announced as of March 30 that new guidelines are now in place and Marylanders may only leave their homes if "absolutely necessary" to combat the spread of the virus. In this order, he deems that essential work, urgent medical care, buying food, or picking up prescriptions fall within these guidelines.
Latest numbers as of March 31 indicate that there have been 1,660 confirmed cases in the state with 18 deaths. "This is the deadly public health crisis," Gov. Hogan said. "We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so."
Governor Hogan, along with many other of the nation's governors, has asked for President Trump to issue a presidential disaster for his state which could open up funding for local governments and nonprofits to offer emergency protective measures. He also encourages those businesses with the necessary resources to step up to face the public health crisis head on by producing personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and other essential resources
Many businesses in Maryland are doing what they can to help, despite simply trying to stay afloat during this unprecedented time. At the front line of this community effort is successful businessman, philanthropist, and proud Marylander, Kevin Plank.
Kevin Plank has deep ties to the Maryland community. Born and raised in the historic town of Kensington and having attended the University of Maryland, College Park, Plank knew that when starting his first business that there was no other place he would want to be than in his home state.
Celebrating nearly 25 years as CEO and founder of Under Armour, Plank has always wanted to show Marylanders that he was there to support them. Over the years he has poured his time and investments in to the state, including restoring the historic Sagamore Farm in Baltimore County and recently having part in one of the largest revitalization projects in the nation designed to create workforce innovation and opportunities for the city of Baltimore.
Plank is also the founder of Sagamore Spirit, a Baltimore-based distillery with over 22,000 square feet of space in the heart of Port Covington.
When Plank heard that many of the hospital and emergency services workers in Maryland were left without essential health and safety equipment, he knew that he had to do something. His philanthropic spirit runs deep in this community with a primary focus on education and uplifting those who simply need a leg up to succeed.
Knowing that many of these workers pour their hearts and souls into saving lives every day, Plank and his team at Sagamore Spirit made a decision-they shut down production of their distillery and use their resources to produce hand sanitizer for the front-line workers.
Sagamore Spirit has identified that they have enough product for an initial production of 54,000 liters of hand sanitizer, and after working through some supply chain and regulatory challenges, they foresee being able to double that number each month. The supply will first be distributed to Maryland healthcare workers, including those at John's Hopkins.
The proud sense of community giving runs deep within Sagamore Spirit. In a recent statement, president of Sagamore Spirit Brian Treacy said, "There is no higher priority than serving the growing and vital needs of the health professionals who are selflessly giving of themselves for the greater good of all. We feel fortunate to have not only the will, but also the expertise and manufacturing capacity to make a difference, and at a meaningful level if Congress chooses to act."
Plank's Under Armour has also designed many ways to support the community through this difficult time. They are working with their partners to source personal protective equipment and others supplies needed by local healthcare workers. The company's Omni distribution warehouse has provided space for Maryland Emergency Management Agency to stage medical supplies.
In addition, Under Armour is putting many of their efforts into ensuring the health of the greater community is being met. Under Armour's global headquarters in Baltimore has donated all the fresh food from its cafeteria to the local Ronald McDonald House.
The company also launched the "Healthy at Home" free 30-day fitness challenge on March 23 to promote the importance of staying physically active during these uncertain times.
The company has pledged $2 million in relief funds to ensure the health and safety of the community. It has donated $1 million to Feeding America, an organization that provides food to underserved communities, including those in the Baltimore area. An additional $1 million in both direct funds and products will be donated to support youth sports leagues.
As more companies step up to provide support and relief to their local communities, the American dream is showing a positive shift. Perhaps the guiding light in all of this uncertainty is that Americans are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to support the greater good of those in our country who need help the most.