May 21, 2024
Annapolis, US 60 F

LIVE: Governor Hogan updates Maryland on Stage 2 progress– indoor dining allowed

Today at 5:00pm, Governor Larry Hogan briefed the State of Maryland with an update and the steps the State is taking to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to get the economy started.

Currently there have been 58,904 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Maryland with 2,686 deaths. In Anne Arundel County, there have been  4,309 cases with 177 deaths.

Full details can be found here (updated daily around 10:00am)

This afternoon at 5:00pm, the Governor, joined by Maryland Department of Education Superintendent Karen Salmon and Deputy Health Secretary Fran Phillips, briefed the public on the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts in Maryland along with discussions about schools and the recent peaceful protest rallies.

Governor Hogan:

  • Today marks 16th day of protests and the Governor thanked people for the peaceful protests.
  • Heath officials are very concerned about the size of crowds.
  • Encouraging anyone who attended any protest rally to get tested immediately and avoid contact with any vulnerable individual.  Multiple high-volume  testing sites will be opened across the City of Baltimore including the Baltimore Convention Center.
  • 100% of the state’s nursing home residents and staff have been tested.
  • Testing will be more critical as people go back to work. They are expecting spikes and outbreaks. There will be ample supplies for testing for whomever wants it moving forward.
  • Measurable metrics across the state in all but one jurisdictions (Prince George’s County) are down. The Positivity rate is 7.2% which is a 73% decrease from peak 55 days ago. All jurisdictions are now in single digits for positivity rate.
  • Hospitalizations ate at 960 which is the lowest level.
  • Safe re-openings of businesses have been a huge success.
  • Now they will allow (effective June 12 at 5:00pm). indoor dining at 50% capacity will be allowed
  • June 12th at 5:00pm schools can resume outdoor graduations, outdoor amusements (mini-golf, go karts, etc) can all re-open.  Community pools can increase capacity to 50%
  • On June 19th at 5:0pm, gyms, martial arts and dance studios and other indoor fitness businesses can re-open at 50% capacity.
  • Casinos and Malls will be allowed to re-open in June 19th at 5:00pm as well.
  • All openings will require appropriate health and safety protocols.

Deputy Secretary of Health Fran Phillips:

  • Without a vaccine the primary tool to fight the virus will continue to be the social measures. Encouraging all Marylanders to continue with 6′ spacing, washing hands, wearing face cloths, carrying hand sanitizer, staying home when sick.
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors. Shorter periods indoors are safer than longer periods.
  • Health department to issue guidance to restaurants for interior service. No buffets and no self service.
  • Health department will issue guidance to gyms and other indoor activity centers.
  • Teleworking needs to continue if possible. Local health departments will work with employers to make sure offices are safe.
  • Just because it is open, does not mean we have to use it.

Dr. Karen Salmon, Superintendent Maryland Public Schools:

  • Optimistic about moving education forward
  • School systems will be allowed to bring small groups of students and staff for summer school (Max 15 people per class)
  • Encouraging local districts to bring back students that were harmed by distance learning for summer programs.
  • Non-Public Special Education schools can re-open with the same restrictions (Max 15 people per class)
  • All child care providers can open as long as they follow recommendations on the MSDE website (Max 15 people per class)
  • Outdoor high school sports can resume outdoor practice and training programs

Again, local jurisdictions do not necessarily need to follow these orders. We anticipate that Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman will be issuing a statement late tonight or tomorrow on the County’s positions. Annapolis City has said they plan to follow the County’s lead on further re-opening.

On June 3, 2020, the Governor announced the start of Phase 2 for the State effective June 5, 2020. Specifically, Hogan said:

  • The Governor praised the citizens of Maryland for the peaceful protests
  • MD General Assembly to hold oversight hearings to find out how the elections failed. Full report to the Governor by July 1 to insure good election in November. (Many Baltimore ballots were delayed in arriving to voters. Ballots in two Baltimore districts were incorrect and there were questions about the validity of the election and particularly the vote by mail initiative.)

Moving onto the COVID-19 recovery, the Governor said that the data shows that Maryland can begin to move into the second stage of the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery. Specifically, Hogan said the following:

  • Despite promises, the Federal government did not give Maryland access to Federal Labs. The University of Maryland Medical Center (Institute of Genome Sciences) is converting a research lab to full blown testing lab to handle the state needs on testing.
  • Positivity Rate now is at 9.5%, which is down 65% from peak at 26.91% on April 17.
  • Montgomery (12.3%)  and Prince Georges (14.1%) Counties remaining above statewide average.
  • CDC recommends positivity rate below 15% for 14 days since entering Stage One. Maryland is there.
  • At 5:00pm on Friday June 5, 2020 other businesses can re-open with public safety protocols in place.
  • Tanning and Nail Salons at 50% capacity with safety protocols.
  • Business should institute CDC Guidelines
  • Businesses should consider staggered shifts, more telework days, and modified hours and schedules.
  • If you are able to telework, you are encouraged to.
  • Monday June 8, Maryland agencies will begin a phased reopening including the MVA.
  • Transit schedules will phase into more normal schedules.
  • Childcare can resume
  • The next step will be to open larger events.
  • County and local jurisdictions still have discretion to follow these recommendations
  • A question was asked about raising the cap for social gatherings, the Governor said it is still technically at 10; however no one is following that.
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