TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Thursday morning that he would allow retail stores and some personal services to reopen Friday morning.
“Today, we are announcing the next steps in the reopening of Baltimore County. I’ve just signed an executive order, so that beginning tomorrow at 9 a.m. retail establishments under the governor’s phase one announcement in Baltimore County will be able to be open to customers,” the county executive said.
Beginning May 22 at 9 a.m., any businesses covered under Gov. Larry Hogan’s phase 1 reopening plan can reopen but are limited to 10 people, including staff inside.
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“They will be required to limit the number of people in their stores to 10, including staff, all individuals must wear face masks and adhere to proper social distancing,” Olszewski said.
Barbershops and hair salons will also be allowed to be open under Hogan’s phase 1. They are also limited to 10 people inside, including staff, and by appointment only.
However, other personal services, such as nail salons, massage parlors, tattoo shops and tanning salons remain closed.
Any business that reopens must follow the state’s guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks indoors and in some cases services by appointment only.
Olszewski said since last week’s announcement, the county has been able to increase testing, obtained more personal protective equipment and other items the governor said would allow for reopening.
“With appointment-free testing, starting to become available and with the state’s new steps to allow pharmacies to administer tests, we expect to see a significant increase in testing, and an associated decline in our positivity rate,” he said.
The county executive also clarified the situations for religious institutions, saying that gatherings are limited to 10 or less. However drive-thru or drive-in services can take place with larger groups, but congregants must remain in their vehicles.
“All of these steps are in line with the state of Maryland’s phase one steps, with only one key distinction, health experts have consistently maintained that gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people. Whenever possible, gatherings of 10 are discouraged by federal guidelines, and they are barred by order of Governor Hogan,” he said.
Hogan did a phase 1 reopening of Maryland last Friday, allowing for some businesses, including retail stores, barbershops and hair salons, to reopen with some restrictions to keep residents safe. Baltimore County at the time still only allowed for retail to do curbside pickup.
During Olszewski’s press conference, a lone protester was yelling before and after the county executive spoke.
A ReOpen Baltimore County rally is planned for Friday in Towson at 2 p.m.