He says the state has made progress in battling the coronavirus.
Annapolis, Md (KM) It’s an important step in Maryland’s gradual reopening. During a news conference in Annapolis on Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that restaurants can reopen beginning on Friday, May 29th at 5:00 PM. for outdoor dining only. He said that also includes social organizations such as the American Legion, VFW and Elks Club chapters.
But the Governor said restaurants must make sure patrons are practicing social distancing, and no more than six people should be seated at one table. All of the tables and chairs must be sanitized after each customer use, and all staff must wear face coverings when interacting with other employees and patrons. In addition restaurants are to use single-use disposable paper menus, or sanitize reusable menus after each use. And all staff needs to be trained on COVID-19 health and workplace safety.
Hogan said progress has been made with percentage of positive cases of the coronavirus declining from a peak of 26.91% on April 7th to 12.8% since that time. But Hogan said we must continue to practice social distancing. “We want to continue to strongly stress the need to follow CDC guidelines,” he said. “The fight against this virus is by no means over.”
In addition to restaurants, Hogan said outdoor youth sports can resume with limited low contact practices focusing on individual skill building versus competition, and limited group sizes. He also said there should be limited touching of equipment and gear.
Along with that youth summer camps can reopen, but with capacity limited to no more than 10 individuals in a group, and daily COVID-19 checks for youth camp staffers and campers. Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers, and no out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
Outdoor swimming pools will also be allowed to reopen. but with 25% of capacity restrictions, strict physical distancing and sanitation measures and patrons will be required to sign in and out. All pools will be required to post signs warning anyone who is sick not to enter.
With all this progress, Governor Hogan reminded Marylanders that this virus is still with us. “COVID-19 is still very much a deadly threat. And our responsible behavior is absolutely critical in the continued efforts to defeat it,” he said.
He said if these encouraging trends continue into next week, Maryland will be in a position to move into Stage Two of the “Maryland Strong Road Map to Recovery,” which will mean lifting the order on non-essential businesses.
By Kevin McManus