ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday that the state as a whole will begin the reopening process on Friday – but individual jurisdictions, such as the suburban counties surrounding D.C., will be granted flexibility for emerging from under the restrictions put in place to stall the novel coronavirus.
"The fight against this deadly disease is far from over. But because of the incredible courage you have shown and the extraordinary sacrifices you have made, Maryland and our nation can now at least begin to slowly recover," the governor said.
The state is lifting the stay-at-home order effective Friday, May 15.
Many of the guidelines – such as maintaining physical distance, handwashing and sanitization, and wearing masks on public transportation will remain in effect.
Among the new guidelines, retail outlets can open at 50 percent capacity.
In addition, manufacturing can resume as long as precautions are in place.
Barber shops and hair salons can also reopen, at 50 percent capacity, and by appointment only.
Places of worship may resume holding services – but they’re strongly encouraged to have those services outdoors. Indoor worship will be permitted, but at 50 percent capacity, and with appropriate social distancing.
The governor stressed, however, that those guidelines will be tailored to individual jurisdictions.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said Wednesday that his county would keep all restrictions in place.
Prince George’s County is also expected to keep restrictions in place.
Leaders of Howard, Anne Arundel, Frederick and Charles counties said Wednesday that they were still deciding how to proceed.
Several counties scheduled press conferences for Thursday.
Maryland’s first case was identified in Montgomery County at the start of the outbreak, and it remains one of the state’s most troubled jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Prince George’s County quickly overtook its neighbor to confirm the highest number of cases in the state. Last week, health officials in Prince George’s County said they were not seeing the flattening of the curve other regions of Maryland were seeing.
Over the weekend, officials in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties publicly announced their concerns about reopening.
In the remainder of the state, the stay-at-home order issued on March 30 will be lifted, and some businesses will be permitted to reopen as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Last week, a two-week decline in the increase of cases prompted the governor eased restrictions on state parks and beaches to allow for exercise, and also permitted physicians and healthcare facilities to resume elective procedures at their own discretion.
The governor has laid out four pillars that need to be in place to reopen the state: including expanded testing capacity, increased hospital surge capacity, ramping up the supply of PPE, and robust contact tracing.
Last week, the governor confirmed that those elements were in place, and that the state as a whole was seeing a decline in the number of new cases.
If the state can keep its numbers down, the governor says they will relax restrictions further.
Hogan ordered all "non-essential businesses" closed on March 23.
The closures included restaurants – except for take-out and delivery, bars, hair salons and barbershops, casinos, racetracks, simulcast betting facilities, enclosed malls, "certain recreational establishments, and "certain recreational establishments and certain retail businesses."
Essential businesses – such as medical facilities, construction companies, or emergency services – were permitted to remain open.
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Here is everything you need to create your own hand sanitizer, according to WHO:
According to WHO, these alcohol-based handrubs are a known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands.
The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Ethanol 96% or isopropyl alcohol 99.8%: 8333 ml or 2.2 gallons of ethanol or 7515 ml or 2 gallons of isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide 3%, which is used to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in the solution and is not an active substance for hand antisepsis: 417 ml or 1.76 cups
- Glycerol 98%, which acts as a moisturizer: 145 ml or 0.6 cups
- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water