Maryland Governor Larry Hogan held a press conference on Friday afternoon, introducing his COVID-19 recovery plan for the state.
The “building blocks” he identified are expanding testing capacity, increasing hospital surge capacity, ramping up the supply of personal protective equipment (or PPE) and robust contact tracing.
The Governor said “I’m optimistic and hopeful that if Marylanders continue staying home and practicing aggressive social distancing for a little while longer, our numbers will plateau, and then we should be able to begin the recovery.”
He identified three stages of reopening the state. Stage one includes lifting the stay at home order, reopening some small businesses, outdoor recreation and lower risk activities as well as resuming elective outpatient surgeries.
Stage two would allow a raising in the limit on social gatherings, allowing limited, physically distanced religious gatherings, opening bars and restaurants with safety restrictions and allowing non-essential workers who cannot telework to return to work.
Stage 3 would reinstitute larger gatherings and events, reopening high-capacity bars and restaurants, hospitals lessening restrictions, family visits to nursing homes and the allowance of larger religious gatherings.
The Governor said “each of these recovery stages will need to be instituted in a safe, gradual and effective manner.” He continued “If we don’t do it in a thoughtful and responsible way, it could cause a rebound of the virus” which he said would “slow our economic recovery.”