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Man arrested for failure to comply with emergency order after hosting bonfire with 60 people

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A Charles County man has been charged with two counts of violating the emergency order limiting crowd size during the coronavirus outbreak as authorities say he organized two events of more than 10 people in the past week.

Shawn Marshall Myers, 41, of Hughesville, was charged Saturday after the Charles County Sheriff’s Office was called out to a report of a large gathering Friday night at 10:53 p.m. in the 15000 block of Lukes Lane in Hughesville.

Myers is the first person in the state to be arrested for violating Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency order forbidding mass gatherings, according to the governor’s spokesman Mike Ricci.

Officers saw Myers, the homeowner, among 60 people at a bonfire on the property.

Myers refused to disperse the crowd, officials said, and he was charged after the Sheriff’s Office discussed the incident with the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.

On March 19,Hogan announced an amendment to his executive order limiting crowd size that would restrict events to 10 people or less to curb the spread of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.

Despite the order, the governor has repeatedly said that some state residents were not observing proper social distancing measures and that authorities would ramp up their efforts to enforce the new order.

It was the second time the sheriff’s office had been called to Myers’ home for a report of a large gathering, as officers had responded to a similar complaint on March 22, the sheriff’s office said.

At that time, Myers agreed to disperse the crowd, per officers’ request, the office wrote. He has been charged with violating the order in relation to both incidents, court records show.

Myers is currently being held without bond after his initial appearance in Charles County District Court, online court records show. He has no attorney listed in court records. The maximum penalties for violating the order are a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

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