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What can reopen? What can’t? What you need to know as Maryland moves into Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces Maryland's move to Phase 2 of its recovery

Tattoo and massage parlors, tanning and nail salons and many other nonessential Maryland businesses can welcome back customers beginning this weekend — but only by appointment and at no more than 50% capacity.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday lifted several more of the coronavirus-related restrictions in his executive order, effective at 5 p.m. Friday, allowing many nonessential businesses to reopen, and state agencies will begin returning to more normal operations beginning Monday.

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It’s the latest step toward reopening Maryland after months of restrictions designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. But all establishments that are allowed to reopen by the state Friday are still subject to more restrictive orders in their local jurisdictions, including Baltimore City, which has left in place its stay-at-home order.

Here’s what you need to know:

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What will be allowed as of 5 p.m. Friday?

Certain businesses deemed “nonessential” will be able to reopen, including all retail stores, wholesalers, warehouses, offices, banks, auto showrooms and travel agencies.

Retail businesses, religious facilities, barbershops, beauty parlors and other personal-service establishments like tattoo parlors and nail salons may open at no more than 50% capacity, with all staff and visitors required to wear face masks, according to the latest order.

Staff at bars and restaurants, tattoo parlors, nail salons, tanning salons, barbershops, beauty salons and massage parlors are required to clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment between each customer, “in accordance with applicable guidance from the CDC and MDH,” the order says.

All manufacturing businesses and facilities may reopen, unless prohibited by their local jurisdictions.

State government offices will begin to return to normal operations Monday, according to the order. Any government building with an expected capacity of more than 10 people must post social distancing guidelines “promptly and conspicuously” and provide a place for employees and visitors to wash their hands.

Outdoor pools; outdoor dining at bars and restaurants; golf courses and driving ranges; outdoor archery and shooting ranges; marinas and watercraft rentals; campgrounds; horse boarding and riding facilities; drive-in movie theaters; outdoor day camps and tour boats were allowed to resume operations under previous orders.

Outdoor tables at bars and restaurants must allow for 6 feet of space between customers, except for households seated together, and food may not be served in a buffet.

What must remain closed?

While the order lifts several restrictions, other indoor activities, as well as some other outdoor ones that tend to draw large crowds, remain prohibited. “Social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people” remain prohibited, the order says.

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, amusement parks, roller and ice skating rinks, miniature golf establishments, social clubs and other establishments subject to the state’s admission and amusement tax are ordered to remain closed, according to the order.

Theaters “at which live performances occur or motion pictures are shown” and malls may not reopen. Mall retailers with exterior doors and those that offer groceries, pharmacy products and health services, however, may welcome customers, the order says.

Fitness centers, health clubs, spas, gyms, aquatic centers and self-defense schools shall remain closed to the public, the order says — except any portion of such a facility “that is licensed or otherwise permitted ... to provide child care services.”

All senior citizen activities centers are ordered to remain closed “until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded,” the order says.

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Does that mean it’s time to return to work?

Short answer: It depends on where you work.

Most, if not all, of the reopening businesses and activities will require at least some employees on site to operate.

But other employers are likely still considering what potential health risks their workplaces present, among many factors, in their decisions on when to bring remote workers back to their offices.

Even the still-closed workplaces, though, are allowed to have employees on site for “minimal operations.”

Business owners and staff are allowed to go to their closed businesses to facilitate remote working by other staff; maintain essential property; prevent property loss or damage, including food spoilage; perform essential administrative functions such as picking up mail and processing payroll; and care for live animals, according to the order.

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