ANNAPOLIS, Md. - It was a beautiful weekend in Maryland and many around the area flocked to the state's capital for a relaxing day outside. But the crowds in Annapolis drew concern from locals including Mayor Gavin Buckley.
"It was the perfect storm," Buckley said when he spoke with FOX 5 Monday. "We had the governor loosening the restrictions, a beautiful sunny day and a lot of people needing to get outside. And a lot of them descended on Annapolis -- it felt like a summer day."
Governor Larry Hogan announced last week that Maryland could enter phase one of the reopening process after weeks of a stay-at-home order prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Anne Arundel County took a more measured stance. Although the county is largely opening according to the governor’s new guidelines, they’ve maintained some of the restrictions that had been put in place to maintain social distancing.
Buckley said he understands that small businesses are hurting but said his main priority is to keep people safe. While the mayor said he did appreciate visitors coming to the downtown area, he said he believed there was a low percentage of people wearing masks and social distancing.
In response, Buckley said, his city's police force will hand out masks when possible and will use video messaging signs to remind people of the guidelines still in place. The goal, he says, is to remind visitors who may have been lured into a false sense of security that we still need to be careful.
Buckley, who worked in the restaurant industry, is hopeful that ‘recovery zones' incorporating outdoor seating can be utilized as a way to help the industry's recovery. The city also has a small business recovery task force in place.