The governor laid out a blueprint for restoring the economy on Friday – one that he calls “Maryland Strong: The Road to Recovery.”
The governor said that the state must have made progress on four key elements to be able to consider a plan for recovery, including expanded testing capacity, increased hospital surge capacity, ramping up the supply of PPE, and robust contact tracing.
The Governor says Maryland is on track for each of those criteria, and is ahead of schedule in terms of increased hospital surge capacity.
The governor’s plan will be implemented in the following phases. Each phase would be contingent on whether or not the state sees a spike in cases, hospitalizations, or deaths:
- Lifting the stay-at-home order, reopening some small businesses, outdoor recreation
- Resume elective outpatient surgeries
- Increased flexibility for non-surge areas
- More businesses reopening
- Non-essential workers who cannot telework returning to work
- Raising the limit on social gatherings
- Limited physically distanced religious gatherings
- Opening bars and restaurants with safety restrictions with significant safety restrictions
- Return to normal transit schedules
- Reinstituting larger gatherings and events
- Reopening high-capacity bars and restaurants
- Hospitals lessening restrictions
- Family visits to nursing homes
- Larger religious gatherings
Hogan noted that if the state doesn't exercise caution upon reopening, it could have devastating consequences if the virus rebounds.
The Governor stressed that until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is devised, Marylanders should expect to live their lives differently.
Hogan has transitioned a number of doctors and health professionals initially assigned to the Maryland Coronavirus Response Team to the Coronavirus Recovery Team. In addition, a number of business leaders have been appointed to that recovery team.
Hogan said he has instructed the Maryland Department of Commerce to develop best practices for businesses to operate within the new normal. These plans will be reviewed by the Coronavirus Recovery Team.
When the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, Maryland – along with neighboring D.C. and Virginia – shut down its non-essential businesses in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.
The shutdown sent tens of thousands of Marylanders scrambling for unemployment insurance.
Hogan’s lone caveat is that the plan will be set in motion once it’s safe.
According to White House guidelines, states can begin reopening their economies when they have seen two weeks of declining COVID-19 cases.
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Neither Maryland – nor D.C. or Virginia – have seen that kind of decline.
Despite states like Georgia and Texas reopening their economies without seeing such a decline, Hogan says he agrees with the White House’s assessment.