County Executive to keep stay-at-home order in place with some exceptions.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner calls it a “phase in of a phase in.” During a public information briefing on Thursday about the coronavirus, Gardner announced that the county will go slow in trying to reopen.
She said the stay-at-home order will remain in place with a few exceptions. “For retail, Frederick County will permit curbside pickup for all retail operations,” she says. “We will allow manufacturing to move forward. We actually believe all of our manufacturers are operating, and this does not change.”
She says the county will allow animal adoptions, car washes and pet groomers to operate. Small retail shops of less than 10,000 square feet will be allowed to open if they manage the number of people inside the store by stationing someone outside; require customers and employees to wear face masks; put plans in place for physical distancing; and minimized the handling of cash.
On Wednesday, the Governor said he would lift the stay-at-home order as of Friday at 5:00 PM. But he allowed local jurisdictions who felt they were not ready to reopen to continue with restrictions on their citizens.
Gardner says Frederick County is keeping some of the restriction in place because there’s not a consistent supply of personal protective equipment for front line workers such as doctors and nurse, and first responders. “The supply of PPE and the uncertainty remains an issue, even though the county’s emergency responders and the hospital are in good shape at the moment,” she said.
In addition, she says there’s not enough coronavirus testing taking place in the county. “We have not yet ramped up testing for people are not symptomatic, and our nursing homes are just beginning their testing that was announced by the Governor a couple of weeks ago,”: says Gardner.
A large number of COVID-19 cases have been reported at nursing homes in Frederick County.
However, if trends continue to be favorable, Gardner says other businesses and organizations can reopen later this month. “If this first step does not cause a rise in hospitalizations, and we do not see an influx of patients from our nursing homes as we get the results of testing, then other establishments and other activities permitted by the government will be allowed to open for business in two weeks, beginning Friday, May 29th,” she said.
Some of those businesses which could reopen are hair salons and barbershops, along with churches and other houses of worship.
“I believe this phase in of the phase in is reasonable,” Gardner says. “It addresses the fact that we have not really been able to manage what has been happening in our nursing homes yet. And that we really need to see the outcome of that testing data and see what that does before we open up further.”
By Kevin McManus