Maryland Governor Says Stay-at-Home Order Will Be Lifted Friday Evening

May 14, 2020 Updated: May 14, 2020

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state’s stay-at-home order originally issued to curb the transmission of the CCP virus, will be lifted beginning Friday at 5 p.m, as the state shifts to a safer-at-home order.

“The fight against this deadly disease is far from over,” Hogan said at a press briefing. “But because of incredible courage you have shown and the extraordinary sacrifices you have made, Maryland, and our nation, can now at least begin to slowly recover.”

As part of stage one of Hogan’s “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,” Maryland will, on Friday evening, see the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.

“Stage one will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings,” Hogan’s office said in a press release Wednesday.

Manufacturing deemed non-essential can reopen in phase one. Retailers and personal care services such as salons can welcome customers with 50 percent capacity, with strong social distancing and other health and safety precautions in place. Art galleries, pet groomers, and animal adoption shelters can also reopen.

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Customers wear masks to prevent the spread of the CCP virus as they line up to enter a Costco in Wheaton, Maryland, on April 16, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Churches and houses of worship can resume services with 50 percent capacity or less, while gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed.

Dine-in service in restaurants, gyms, and theaters will remain closed during the first phase.

“As we begin stage one of our recovery, I want to assure every Marylander who may feel uneasy, and anyone who is concerned that we are moving either too quickly or too slowly, that each and every decision we make is both fact-based and science-based and made only after extensive consultation with our expert Coronavirus Recovery Team,” Hogan said.

“We are continually monitoring this crisis, we remain focused on the clusters, outbreaks, and hotspots, and I can assure you that we remain ready to quickly and decisively respond to any changes in the facts on the ground, and that we will continue to attack this virus with every single tool at our disposal.”

Hogan told reporters Wednesday that the state had achieved the two-week plateauing and decline in hospitalizations for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

“A lot of it depends on how everyone treats this first phase. If everyone goes crazy and does things that are unsafe, we’re going to balloon up and slow down the process,” he said.

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People walk on the boardwalk as the area reopens in Ocean City, Md., on May 10, 2020. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The Republican governor previously allowed elective and non-urgent medical procedures to resume from May 7, while broadening the outdoor activities permitted under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Hogan said Wednesday that while he is allowing a phase one reopening for Maryland on Friday, some counties, such as Howard and Montgomery, are allowed to move at their own pace.

“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.

Marc Elrich, executive of Maryland’s Montgomery County, told The Associated Press reopening efforts must be coordinated at the local level.

“Our borders are so fluid,” he said. “So, say somebody opens a giant mall in northern Virginia, it’s very likely that people from all over the place are going to be going there. Until you know that you’ve got control over the virus in your population, that’s not going to be a good thing.”

Elrich said he understands that “a vocal minority” is unhappy with the restrictions but pointed to polling showing that the overwhelming majority of people prefer that the state continue to operate under a stay-at-home order.

“I want to be very clear: while lifting the stay-at-home order and gradually moving into stage one of our recovery is a positive step forward, it does not mean that we are safe, or that this crisis is over. Low risk does not mean no risk,” Hogan said.

“All Marylanders, particularly those older and more vulnerable populations are wise to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees whenever possible.”