Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said at a press conference on Wednesday that Maryland may begin reopening as soon as next week as “low risk” outdoor activities such as walking on public beaches and golfing resume Thursday.
Hogan has yet to issue a specific timeline for the state’s reopening but indicated that trends are moving in a hopeful direction.
“Over the past seven days we have seen a good trend in hospitalizations with five-straight days downward and then a little bump up yesterday, but overall, we are down slightly from where we were a week ago,” Hogan said on Wednesday.
The governor added that ICU numbers have remained “basically flat, level at a plateau for eight-straight days.”
“If these trends continue into next week, we will be ready to lift the stay-at-home order and to begin stage one of our recovery plan,” he said, explaining that stage one would involve reopening “certain types of businesses and lower-risk community, religious and quality-of-life activities.”
Hogan refused to place a date on the first phase of reopening, citing the risk of a spike in numbers, but he said certain outdoor activities and elective surgeries can resume this week.
Outdoor activities permitted as of Thursday at 7:00 a.m. include golf, tennis, fishing, camping, and boating. Beaches and state parks also reopened for activities such as exercise or walking.
The loosening of restrictions, Hogan said, is “predicated on people taking personal responsibility and following the public health guidelines” such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large groups.
Schools, however, will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.