All businesses in Maryland will be able to open later this week as the state enters the third phase of its coronavirus recovery plan, Governor Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.
Movie theaters and performing arts centers will be able to open at 50% capacity beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Up to 100 people will be allowed at indoor venues, or 250 people at outdoor venues.
All retail stores as well as churches and houses of worship will be able to increase capacity from 50% to 75%. Local jurisdictions will still be able to decide not to open as much as the state plan allows.
“I want to remind the people of Maryland that moving into Stage 3 does not mean that this crisis is behind us and remind them that we must remain vigilant so that we can keep Maryland open for business,” Hogan said at a news conference.
The governor said the state has continued to see declining numbers in key health metrics. Maryland’s statewide posititivity rate is down to 3.39%, Hogan said.
“Maryland’s positivity rate has now been under 5%, which is the benchmark set by the World Health Organization and the (Centers for Disease Control an Prevention) for 68 consecutive days, since June 25th, and it has been under 4% for 24 consecutive days, since Aug. 8,” Hogan said.
“While it is absolutely critical to remain vigilant as we battle this deadly virus, it is also important that we continue to fight to protect and improve our economy and the health of our small business community and our struggling Maryland families by continuing to push to safely reopen our economy and to get more people safely back to work,” Hogan said.
Maryland also has seen nearly a 30% decline in intensive care unit levels since July 25.
“In just the last month alone, our statewide case rate per 100,000 has dropped by 45%,” Hogan said.
Hogan also thanked the Maryland State Board of Education for voting to require school systems that have not developed a plan for returning any students for in-person instruction until 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter.
Last week, the governor announced that, as a result of improved COVID-19 health metrics, every county school system in Maryland is authorized to begin safely reopening but made clear that the legal authority and final decision on safe openings rests with county boards of education.
The Maryland State Board of Elections has told the administration that absentee ballot applications have been mailed out to all state voters.
“We continue to strongly encourage Marylanders to take advantage of voting by absentee ballot or to participate in early voting,” Hogan said.
Hogan also said more than 11,000 residents have to stepped forward to serve as election judges.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.