Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is “hopeful” that the state could begin its economic recovery beginning early May, he stated on Friday.
The governor unveiled the “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan on Friday, explaining that he is hopeful that the state will see a 14-day decline in coronavirus hospitalizations and cases and kick off phase one by early May.
“I’m optimistic that if Marylanders continue staying home and continue practicing physical distancing a little while longer, that our numbers could continue to plateau,” Hogan said on Friday.
“And I’m hopeful that we could then be able to begin our recovery in early May,” he added.
Stage One would effectively lift the state’s stay-at-home order, reopen “some” small businesses while allowing “lower risk” activities, resume elective outpatient medical and dental procedures, and allow “limited attendance outdoor religious gatherings.”
Stage Two would “likely be a longer stage of the initial recovery, but will also be the stage when a large number of businesses and activities come back online,” according to an outline of the plan. Businesses that reopen during that period would be required to adhere to “strict physical distancing and appropriate safety protocols.” Those businesses include childcare centers, indoor fitness centers, restaurants, and bars.
Stage Three would involve reintroducing “higher risk activities” like larger social gatherings and entertainment venues, but officials say there is “no realistic timeline yet for achieving this level.”
The plan does, however, allow flexibility regionally.
“In each stage, the state will evaluate which localities meet appropriate gating criteria in the jurisdiction and/or region,” the outline states.
“In the event a locality has satisfied the gating criteria, county health officers will be permitted to expand the permitted activities and businesses under parameters of the current stage identified by the state,” it adds.
“As we begin to reopen, it will continue to be important for Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, to continue to stay home as much as they can,” Hogan said in a statement:
All Marylanders should continue to avoid crowds and gatherings, and they should continue to practice physical distancing and to take precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their fellow Marylanders. Together, we are going to defeat this virus, and together, the State of Maryland will return stronger and better than ever.
Hogan emphasized that the state is not yet ready to go into Stage One, as virus cases and deaths remain on the rise. Maryland had 16,616 coronavirus cases as of Friday morning.