ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland will begin stage two of the state’s coronavirus recovery plan on Friday thanks to declines in key case metrics, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.
At 5 p.m. Friday, the state will lift the order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses. Nail salons, tanning salons and massage parlors in the state will be able to reopen at 50 percent capacity.
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Retailers, offices, financial institutions, car dealerships and insurance agencies will also be able to re-open with public health guidelines in place. Manufacturing facilities, construction, specialty vendors, warehouses and technology firms are also included.
The state Department of Education will continue with its plan to reopen child care centers as more people head back to work, Hogan said.
Meanwhile, state government agencies such as the MVA will move toward a “phased reopening” offering services by appointment only. Transit schedules will also begin to return to normal.
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Indoor dining at restaurants and bars, as well as gyms, though, are not included in the plan.
“For all businesses, face coverings are encouraged whenever face-to-face interaction takes place,” Hogan said.
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If the trends continue, Hogan said the state will consider opening outdoor amusement and sporting activities.
The governor stressed the state is not out of the woods yet regarding the pandemic and steps like teleworking and social distancing should still be followed.
“While we are excited to get much of our economy restarted, I want to be very clear: just because Marylanders can return to the office doesn’t mean that they should,” he said.
Hogan said rules prohibiting guidelines of ten or more people are technically still in effect but added many people are not following them.
The state has seen downward trends in all key COVID-19 metrics, including the rate of positive tests.
As of Wednesday, the positivity rate dropped to single digits — 9.5 percent — down from the peak of 26.91 percent on April 17. The number of current patients in hospitals is at its lowest number in 50 days, the governor said.