Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland can now safely move forward with the completion of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes the resumption of outdoor dining and outdoor activities such as youth sports and youth day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters.
Stage One will continue to be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. As of today, 23 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions have entered or announced their plan to begin entering Stage One.
“Though we continue to make great progress toward recovery, COVID-19 is still very much a deadly threat, and our responsible behavior is absolutely critical in the continued efforts to defeat it,” said Governor Hogan. “Thankfully, the vast majority of our citizens clearly understand that while doing things like avoiding crowds, practicing distancing, and wearing masks may be inconvenient, that these are some of the best tools we have to continue to slow the spread of this virus, and to put us in a position to rebuild and restore our economy, and to finally defeat this invisible enemy.”
MARYLAND’S POSITIVITY RATE HAS DROPPED BY HALF, NEW DATA NOW AVAILABLE. Maryland has now reached the goal of conducting 10,000 tests in a day, and has completed more than 300,000 COVID-19 tests statewide. With the state’s expanded testing and tracing capacity, Maryland now has the ability to take a closer and more accurate look at positivity rates—another important indicator of the recovery and a key metric being used by the CDC and other states to track the containment progress of COVID-19.
Building on Maryland’s data-driven approach, Governor Hogan unveiled positivity rate data for the state showing that Maryland’s statewide positivity rate peaked at 26.91% on April 7. Since then, it has dropped by more than half, down to 12.8%. This data is now available on the state’s public health dashboard.
LOWER RISK DOES NOT MEAN NO RISK. Governor Hogan continued to stress the importance of staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds of people, teleworking when possible, practicing physical distancing, wearing masks in indoor public areas, and avoiding public transportation unless it is absolutely necessary.
Stage One Activities Effective Friday, May 29, at 5:00 pm:
OUTDOOR DINING. Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association. Read the governor’s order here.
- Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
- Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
- Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
- Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
- Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
- Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
- Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.
In an effort to promote safer dining and support the restaurant industry, the governor is encouraging local jurisdictions to expand the footprint of outdoor dining by allowing for the closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces.
YOUTH SPORTS. Outdoor youth sports may resume following appropriate CDC guidelines including:
- Limited, low-contact outdoor practices focused on individual skill building versus competition.
- Limited group sizes.
- Limited touching of shared equipment and gear.
- The ability to engage in physical distancing while not actively engaged in play.
YOUTH DAY CAMPS. Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume under the following guidance:
- Capacity limitation of no more than 10 individuals in a group.
- Daily COVID symptom checks for youth camp staff and campers.
- No out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
- Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers.
OUTDOOR POOLS. All outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines including:
- 25% capacity restrictions.
- Strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
- Patrons will be required to sign-in and sign-out.
- All pools will be required to post signage warning anyone who is sick not to enter.
STAGE TWO. Governor Hogan noted that health officials will continue to watch the data closely, and if these encouraging trends continue into next week, the state will then be in a position to move into Stage Two of the recovery, which would mean lifting the order on non-essential businesses.