Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that he’s going to ease more restrictions from coronavirus-related shutdowns with indoor dining and outdoor amusements opening Friday and indoor gyms, casinos and malls resuming limited operations next week. Day cares and summer school will also be able to start back up in some capacity.
Hogan, a Republican, said the looser restrictions will be safe only if people continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“The fight against this virus is far from over,” Hogan said during a State House news conference.
Here’s what you need to know:
[ Coronavirus in Maryland: Everything you need to know ]
It continues to vary by jurisdiction
Local leaders said they were largely left in the dark about the governor’s announcement, leaving many of them unsure about how they’ll proceed.
Harford and Howard counties will go along with the governor’s orders, officials said.
Carroll County’s commissioners plan to discuss it at their Thursday meeting, but have followed the governor’s steps to date. And Anne Arundel officials said they won’t make a decision before meeting their recovery advisory team Thursday afternoon.
Baltimore County officials said they are evaluating the announcements, and Baltimore City officials will take one to two days to evaluate whether to lift more restrictions, said Lester Davis, a spokesman for Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Is everything opening this Friday?
No. Just indoor dining and outdoor amusement parks such as miniature golf and go-karts.
So when will the other things open?
Indoor fitness centers, gyms, martial arts, dance and other studio-type activities, as well as casinos, arcades and malls may open starting 5 p.m. June 19 with local approval.
How will indoor dining work?
Restrictions will be similar to what’s in place for outdoor dining. Capacity will be limited to 50% with tables at least 6 feet apart. Employees will be required to wear masks and take a daily health screening.
When gyms open, how is that going to work?
The state laid out various levels of guidance in an information sheet that encourages gyms to post plenty of signage for patrons, sanitize equipment more frequently and to limit class sizes to 10 people, who are 6 feet apart.
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So child care centers are open?
Yes. All centers can be open with the maximum number of staff and children set at 15 per room, said Karen B. Salmon, the state superintendent of schools.
What about kids going back to school?
Salmon also said schools may bring “small groups” of students and staff into buildings. The state is encouraging school districts to focus summer learning programs on vulnerable children or students who lack the ability to participate in distance learning.
Salmon said all non-public special education schools may reopen to serve small groups of students with disabilities if they follow the same parameters as public schools.
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“Students with the most intense learning needs have been hit the hardest by the pandemic,” she said.
High schools also will be allowed to start up outdoor sports, following the same guidelines previously put into place for youth sports, such as focusing on skill-building and drills and avoiding player contact.
Wait, so my child can actually go to school this summer?
Maybe. Most Maryland school districts had planned to hold summer school remotely and were surprised by Salmon’s announcement.
Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County school officials said they would consult county leaders and community members before drawing up a reopening plan.
A lot of things are open now. Does this mean I can stop social distancing and wearing masks?
No, you still need to do all of these things.
Hogan said the looser restrictions will be safe only if people continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Baltimore Sun Media reporters Pamela Wood, Liz Bowie, Nathan Ruiz, Mary Grace Keller, Olivia Sanchez and Ana Faguy contributed to this article.