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Howard County to reopen outdoor pools, allow outdoor youth camps and sports

Howard County outdoor pools and outdoor youth camps and sports may reopen beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, County Executive Calvin Ball announced.

The announcement comes two days after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan released further guidance to loosen restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Hogan announced restaurants and bars in the state could reopen with outdoor dining beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

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The county Department of Recreation and Parks also is set to resume outdoor youth camps, programs and classes June 29.

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“After reviewing our data and the details of the governor’s recommendations, Howard County is ready to reopen these outdoor activities,” Ball said in a statement. “COVID-19 is here for the near future, and it’s critical that our community recognizes that as we reopen parts of our economy everyone continues to take precautions and reduce their risk.”

According to the state, outdoor pools are being allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with strict sanitation measures. Youth sports may also resume for “low-contact” practices outdoors in limited groups. Groups of kids will be limited to no more than 10 at day camps, Hogan said, and masks will be required. Daily COVID-19 symptom checks will also be mandated, and all activities will be outdoors.

Drive-in movie theaters may also open in accordance with the governor’s order, according to the county. Weddings and large events scheduled through the rec and parks department have been canceled through July 1. Skate parks at Centennial Park North and North Laurel Community Center will reopen Saturday.

While Howard County announced some outdoor openings Friday, basketball courts and playgrounds remain closed.

Earlier this week, Ball announced the county would enter the first phase of reopening at 7 a.m. Friday, including allowing retailers, barbers and hair salons to operate at 50% capacity, and religious institutions will be permitted to hold outdoor services of up to 250 people. Indoor religious services are still limited to a maximum of 10 people.

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