In a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the State House in Annapolis, Governor Larry Hogan announced a lifting of the emergency stay at home order and a phased reopening of the state’s economy.
The Governor said the state had made progress on the four “building blocks” necessary to begin a reopening, namely a decline and stabilization in hospitalization figures, including intensive care unit occupancy. Governor Hogan said “I am pleased to announce that Maryland has achieved the 14-day trend of plateauing and declining numbers.”
Stage one of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery” will include the reopening of retail and other non-essential businesses at 50 percent capacity, limited attendance of outdoor religious gatherings, the reopening of car washes, limited outdoor gym and fitness classes and outdoor work with appropriate distancing measures and some personal services like barber shops and hair salons will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity and by appointment only.
The stay at home order will expire at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15, when stage one of the reopening officially begins. At that point, the state will transition to a “safer at home” public health advisory, urging residents who don’t need to be out to remain home.
Last week, the Governor announced what amounted to a test run, opening state beaches and parks, allowing recreational boating, fishing, golf, tennis, hiking and hunting, and permitting elective medical and dental procedures at medical offices.
Despite a lifting of the stay at home order, precautions will remain in place including social distancing of at least six feet, face masks in public spaces and limitations on gatherings to 10 people or less.
Additionally, municipalities will not have to follow the state’s directives with a “flexible, community-based approach” that will “empower individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of Stage One reopenings.”
Governor Hogan stresses this will be a long road to recovery, with a full return to “normal” not coming until a COVID-19 vaccine is created and mass produced. Stage 2 of the recovery plan could begin if stage one is successfully implemented without a spike in cases.
The Governor’s advised executive order can be found by CLICKING HERE