ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland will enter the second phase of its coronavirus recovery plan Friday.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that most non-essential businesses could reopen at 5 p.m. with some safety restrictions.READ MORE: Masks Required For All In Anne Arundel County-Owned Buildings, Unvaccinated County Employees To Undergo Weekly Testing
Hogan announced Friday that the state has conducted more than 405,000 virus tests. The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 8.4%, the governor said, and the total number of hospitalizations in Maryland have dropped to their lowest level since April 13. There were 1,076 people in hospitals due to the virus as of Friday morning.
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Businesses that will be able to reopen include manufacturing, construction, large and small retail shops, specialty vendors, wholesalers and warehouses. Offices including information technology firms, legal offices, accounting, banking and financial institutions, and insurance agencies also can open.
Real estate offices, travel agencies, auto dealer showrooms and bank branches also can reopen with public health and safety guidance recommendations in place, the governor’s office said. That includes wearing face coverings during face-to-face interactions, taking workers’ temperatures and limiting the proximity of employees by rotating work hours. Employees who can are being urged to continue working from home when possible.
Personal services such as nail and tanning salons, message therapy and tattoo parlors can reopen with 50% capacity and by appointment only.READ MORE: Health Officials Investigating COVID-19 Outbreak At Cecil County Fair
A ban on indoor restaurant dining will remain in place. Fitness centers, senior centers, theaters, malls and amusement parks also will remain closed throughout the state.
Baltimore’s Mayor Jack Young announced the city would fully move into phase 1 reopening Monday.
Young also announced the Baltimore Health Corps, a $12 million program funded by both the public and private entities. The corps will hire more than 300 people to trace the contacts of those who have tested positive for COVID—19, among other duties.
“We all know that we’re facing an economic crisis as well as a health crisis. This initiative tackles both,” said Jason Perkins-Cohen, who directs the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: Positivity Rate Rises To 3.23%, 25 Hospitalized