On April 24, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland issued a state-wide recovery plan titled “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery”. The plan lays out a three-phase process the state will take to reopen its economy, although the plan does not include anticipated dates as the timeline is dependent upon the virus. The movement of the virus will be tracked by the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 within the state.
During the first two weeks of May, the statewide number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients plateaued. Thus, Governor Hogan issued Order Number 20-05-13-01, dated May 13, 2020, to initiate Phase I reopening for the state. The Order was effective 5pm on May 15, 2020.
Phase I lifts the stay-at-home order that was in place, allowing nonessential businesses such as carwashes, clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, art galleries, bookstores, and animal shelters to reopen. A comprehensive list of nonessential businesses permitted to reopen pursuant of Phase I can be found on the attached Interpretative Guidance. Manufacturing businesses and facilities are also permitted to reopen. However, these businesses must maintain a maximum of fifty percent (50%) capacity. Face masks must continue to be worn, and social distancing guidelines must be followed.
Additionally, in-person religious services may proceed if fifty percent (50%) capacity or less is observed. Outdoor, recreational locations such as beaches, golf courses, campgrounds, state parks, outdoor shooting/archery ranges and horse riding facilities have also been reopened. Finally, elective medical procedures may be considered at the discretion of medical professionals.
It is important to note that the reopening of the state differs by county. The governor gave county leaders the authority to adopt as much or as little of Phase I reopening as deemed appropriate based upon the county’s number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Phase I of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery” is expected to take several months. In the future, Phase II will include a larger number of businesses and facilities that will reopen while following recommended best practices, while Phase III will begin the institution of “higher-risk” activities such as reopening large gathering places.
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