At a 5 PM press conference on Wednesday, May 13, Maryland governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland will move from a “stay at home order” to a “safer at home” advisory effective Friday, May 15, at 5 PM, citing a 14-day trend of plateauing and declining numbers in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, ICU patients, and deaths.
However, Montgomery County is not yet ready to take that step, according to a tweet from county executive Marc Elrich.
While @GovLarryHogan has announced he is lifting the Stay at Home Order and moving into Phase 1 of recovery, here in @MontgomeryCoMD , the science shows we are not ready to take that step. We are in a densely-populated environment with nearly 400 #COVID19 deaths. pic.twitter.com/3S5cQVKKtA
— Marc Elrich (@Marc_Elrich) May 13, 2020
Prince George’s County also does not plan to begin the reopening process this week.
The Governor’s Stage One Recovery “roadmap” includes the opening of retail businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity (while continuing to strongly encourage curbside pickup and delivery); the opening of some personal services, including barbershops and hair salons at 50 percent capacity and by appointment only; and the opening of such small businesses as pet groomers and art galleries. Houses of worship can also reopen under the Stage One guidelines, but out-of-doors services are strongly encouraged (and indoor services are limited to 50 percent capacity).
Hogan noted that the reopening is happening under a “flexible, community-based approach which empowers individual county leaders to make decisions…. about their own jurisdiction.” Translation, as we understand it: While the Maryland regulations have changed, actual reopening will happen on a county level. “We fully understand that not all counties are in the same situation,” Hogan said, adding that just four of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions (Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City) make up more than 70 percent of Maryland’s coronavirus cases. “Prince George’s and Montgomery counties have the highest number of cases and they have made it clear that they are not yet ready to move into Stage One,” Hogan said.
“While lifting the stay at home order and gradually moving into Stage One is a positive [step],” Hogan cautioned, “it does not mean that we are safe or that this crisis is over. Low risk does not mean no risk.” He said telework will continue to be encouraged, higher risk people should continue to stay home as much as possible, Marylanders should continue to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and everyone should continue washing hands often.
“If Stage One activities resume successfully without a spike in hospitalizations…or significant unforeseen outbreaks, we will be in position to move to Stage Two,” Hogan said.