Governor Hogan also says some businesses can reopen on Friday.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Beginning on Friday at 5:00 PM, the stay-at-home order in Maryland will be lifted. That announcement was made by Governor Larry Hogan during a news conference on Wednesday in Annapolis
The order was put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.. But Hogan said there has been some positive trends in the fight against the coronavirus. “The number of coronavirus hospitalizations is down from two weeks ago. The number of COVID ICU patients has plateaued for a significant period of time, and is trending down over the past 14 days. The rate of new deaths is trending downward,” he said.
The Governor had said in the past that if these numbers continue a downward trend for 14 days, he would lift the stay-at-home order, and start stage one of his “Maryland Strong :Roadmap to Recovery.”
He also announced that some businesses can reopen. “Retail stores in Maryland may reopen with up to 50% capacity, and with strong social distancing, masking and other safety precautions, while continuing to strongly encourage curbside pickup and delivery,'” he said. His “Maryland Strong” Plan says small shops and certain small businesses can reopen. Restaurants and bars remain closed.
“Some personal services, including barbershops and hair salons, may reopen at up to 50% capacity, by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines,” Hogan said.
Manufacturers can also resume their operations, but Hogan said it must be in a safe manner that protects the health and safety of employees. Also, he says, guidelines should be developed to encourage multiple shifts and other safety precautions.
Also, the Governor announced that churches can once again start to hold indoor religious services. “Inside services may be permitted with 50% capacity or less with appropriate distancing, masking and safety protocols strongly advised,” he said.
When the stay-at-home order ends, Governor Hogan says it will be replaced with the “Safer at Home” public health advisory. “All Marylanders, particularly those older and more vulnerable population, are advised to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage tele-a-work with their employees whenever possible,” he says.
The Governor’s “Maryland Strong” plan provides for a community-based approach when it comes to counties and municipalities, according to Governor Hogan. That means local officials can make their own decisions regarding how stage one to reopen the local economies can be implemented.,
In a statement from the Frederick County Executive’s office, the county, the Cities of Frederick and Brunswick, and the Towns of Burkittsville, Middletown, Emmitsburg, Mount Airy, Myersville, New Market, Thurmont, Walkersville and Woodsboro, and Village of Rosemont will coordinate when and how the lifting of the stay-at-home order and other changes will take place. The elected officials say they will evaluate their options thoroughly and effectively before making any decisions.
“The general public and local businesses should be aware that implementation of any proposed changes will not be immediate,” the statement says. “Further details will be announced at a later date as more information is available.”
Also, it doesn’t look like the lawsuit against Governor Hogan over his orders to require citizens to stay at home and closure of non-essential businesses won’t end. While welcoming the Governor’s decision to lift the stay-at-home order and allowing some businesses and churches to reopen, Frederick County Delegate Dan Cox says some businesses such as bars, restaurants and Adventure Park USA are still closed. Cox, whose one of the plaintiffs in the suit, is calling on the Governor to allow all businesses to reopen, and let those who lost their jabs to begin working again. “All businesses are essential and must be allowed to compete and reopen,” Cox said in a statement.
Governor Hogan said implementing stage one of his reopening plan is not the end of this crisis.. “It’s does not mean that we are safe, or that this crisis is over,”he said. “Low risk does not mean low risk.”
He said the COVID-19 virus will be with us until a vaccine is developed. In the meantime, the Governor says we should continue to be cautious, practice social distancing, wearing masks when inside retails establishment or other public places, and those most susceptible to contracting the coronavirus should continue to stay home.
By Kevin McMfanus