Business and Industry | Business Strategy | Coronavirus | Leadership / Management

Maryland reopening expands as more low-risk activities resume

Slowly, gradually, Maryland’s economy continues to reopen according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan.

On Wednesday, Hogan announced plans to complete Stage One of his three-stage “Roadmap to Recovery strategy for reopening Maryland’s economy. The latest announcement includes the resumption of outdoor dining, outdoor activities such as youth sports and day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters.

Hogan stressed that the announcement does not mean that life has returned to normal. In fact, even as restrictions have begun to ease, we must proceed with caution — for our own well being and that of those around us.

“Though we continue to make great progress toward recovery, COVID-19 is still very much a deadly threat, and our responsible behavior is absolutely critical in the continued efforts to defeat it,” the governor said. “Thankfully, the vast majority of our citizens clearly understand that while doing things like avoiding crowds, practicing distancing, and wearing masks may be inconvenient, that these are some of the best tools we have to continue to slow the spread of this virus, and to put us in a position to rebuild and restore our economy, and to finally defeat this invisible enemy.”

The following activities may resume in Maryland at 5 p.m. ET on May 29.

Outdoor dining: Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs may reopen for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association. Restaurants must:

  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

Hogan is encouraging local jurisdictions to expand the footprint of outdoor dining by allowing for the closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces.

Youth sports: Outdoor youth sports may resume following appropriate CDC guidelines, including:

  • Limited, low-contact outdoor practices focused on individual skill building versus competition.
  • Limited group sizes.
  • Limited touching of shared equipment and gear.
  • The ability to engage in physical distancing while not actively engaged in play.

Youth day camps: Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume under the following guidance:

  • Capacity limitation of no more than 10 individuals in a group.
  • Daily COVID symptom checks for youth camp staff and campers.
  • No out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
  • Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers.

Outdoor pools: All outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines, including:

  • Twenty-five percent capacity restrictions.
  • Strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
  • Patrons will be required to sign-in and sign-out.
  • All pools will be required to post signage warning anyone who is sick not to enter.

Hogan had earlier lifted some restrictions for manufacturers, retail stores, churches and houses of worship, barber shops and hair salons, and some low-risk outdoor activities like golf, tennis, and fishing.

Stage Two If data about the spread of COVID-19 continues to trend in the right direction, Hogan said the state could be ready to move into Stage Two of its reopening plan as early as next week.

Stage Two will 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. Any businesses that reopen during this period would need to comply with strict physical distancing and appropriate safety protocols. Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage include the following:

  • Raising the cap on social gatherings
  • Indoor gyms and fitness classes
  • Childcare centers
  • Normal transit schedules
  • Indoor religious gatherings
  • Reopening of restaurants and bars with restrictions
  • Elective and outpatient procedures at hospitals

More reopening news and resources


Bill Sheridan