Maryland to begin second stage of coronavirus reopening plan
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland will begin its second stage of reopening later this week by lifting the order that closed non-essential businesses in response to the coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.
The order will be lifted Friday at 5 p.m. That will enable large and small retail shops to open, as well as wholesalers and warehouses. Offices including information technology firms, legal offices, banking and financial institutions can open as well. Hogan said personal services such as nail salons and tanning salons can reopen with 50% capacity and by appointment only.
Face coverings will be encouraged whenever face-to-face interactions take place, Hogan said. Businesses are also being encouraged to implement a screening process, including temperature checks for personnel based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health department.
“Businesses are also strongly encouraged to develop plans which limit the proximity of employees by rotating employee hours, instituting split schedules, shifts, shorter work weeks or staggering start, break or shift times,” Hogan said at a news conference.
The governor emphasized that just because people will be allowed to return to work doesn’t mean they necessarily should. Hogan said people who can work from home should continue to do so.
“No worker wants to give this virus to his or her coworkers, and no employer wants an outbreak at his or her workplaces,” Hogan said.
He also said state government agencies will return to more normal operations. The Motor Vehicles Administration will begin a phased reopening at select branches on a limited basis by appointment only with staff wearing face coverings.
“With more Marylanders going back to work, we will also begin gradually returning to more normal transit schedules, and the Maryland State Department of Education will continue with its plan to reopen child care centers to ensure that there are more spots available to more and more parents that are returning to the workforce,” Hogan said.
The governor also said that local officials will have flexibility to follow the state’s reopening plan or maintain stricter limits on businesses.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.