Gov. says businesses considered ‘non-essential’ can reopen on Friday at 5:00 PM.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The State of Maryland is about to enter State Two of its Road Map to Recovery. During a news conference on Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that businesses considered “non-essential” will be allowed to reopen on Friday, June 5th at 5:00 PM. These include manufacturing, construction, wholesalers, warehouses, offices, large and small retailers, specialty shops, banks and financial institutions.
These and other companies were ordered closed several weeks ago to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But he said businesses should still take precautions against the coronavirus. “For all businesses, face coverings are encouraged whenever face-to-face interaction take place,” he said. “Businesses are encouraged to implement a screening process, including temperature checks, for personnel based on CDC and Health Department guidance.”
He also said nail salons and tanning salons can reopen, but only at 50% of capacity, by appointment only with “strict safety protocols.”
In remarks to reporters, the Governor said progress is being made in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.. “Our testing, the drop in positivity, hospitalizations and ICU beds–all of these of these metrics to allow us to safely begin Stage Two of our Road Map to Recovery,” he said.
But he encouraged businesses to continue letting their employees work from home where possible.
For those who must come to work, Governor Hogan suggested employers readjust schedules. “Businesses are also strongly encouraged to develop plans which limit the proximity of employees by rotating employee hours, instituting split schedules, shifts, shorter work weeks, or staggering start, break or shift times,” he says.
The Governor said state agencies can get back to normal on Monday, June 8th. “And MVA and other customer-facing agencies will begin a phased reopening of select branches to customers on a limited basis, but appointment only, with staff wearing face coverings, and Plexiglas dividers at each station,” Hogan said.
The Governor also addressed what happened on Primary Election Day, which was Tuesday, June 2nd. “The fact that thousands of Marylanders did not receive their ballots, or received erroneous or late ballots. All of this is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Hogan went on to say there were “significant failures” when it came to ballots being mailed out to voters. He’s calling on the Administrator of the State Board of Elections to prepare a “full and complete report” on what happened, and have it ready by July 3rd. It will be sent to the Governor, the Board of Public Works, and the Leadership in the Maryland General Assembly.
“I’m also requesting that he Maryland General Assembly immediately begin oversight hearings to determine what caused the failures and how they can be corrected,” he said.
The Governor hopes these problems won’t be repeated during the General Election. “And I want to assure you we’re going to take whatever actions are necessary to make sure that those who are responsible correct these problems to safeguard our democratic process and ensure that our November election is free of these failures and these issues,” Hogan said.
The state encouraged Marylanders to vote in the Primary by mail to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But some polling locations were set up for those who wanted to cast their ballots in person.
By Kevin McManus