Maryland Governor Hogan Announces Roadmap to Recovery – A Phased Approach to Reopen Maryland’s Economy
Today, Governor Larry Hogan announced, “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery”. This plan (https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/MD_Strong.pdf) articulates the Administration’s guidance for a phased reopening of Maryland’s economy. The earliest date for easing the Governor’s current stay-at-home order is early to mid-May.
The first phase of reopening will not begin until several conditions are met, such as a decline in number of new cases and a decline in intensive care (ICU) hospital bed utilization. Other considerations for when Maryland will begin to reopen include capacity for increased testing, contact tracing, hospital capacity and the ability to quarantine COVID-19 patients. These COVID-19 metrics will be the guideposts for when certain businesses may be authorized to reopen.
The phased reopening will vary based on whether the business is “high touch” or “low touch” and how feasible physical distancing is for a business’s operations. Businesses will be categorized by low, medium or high risk based on the possibility of spreading COVID-19 by their operations. The Governor specifically referenced the categories designated by the American Enterprise Institute’s Guidance for Governors Report which relies on the information and expertise of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/public-health-principles-for-a-phased-reopening-during-covid-19-guidance-for-governors/; https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/pubs_archive/pubs-pdfs/2020/200417-reopening-guidance-governors.pdf). Low risk businesses will be the first to be allowed to reopen. The requirements to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines will continue for some time.
For now, the Governor plans three stages:
- Stage 1 – Outdoor activities and recreation (golf, boating); outdoor religious gatherings; some elective medical procedures; with continuation of physical distancing and telework whenever possible.
- Stage 2 – Some restaurants and bars with significant restrictions on operations; larger indoor gathering with limitations; some transit options; and a reduction in preference for telework.
- Stage 3 – Larger entertainment venues; and lessening of restrictions on Stage 1 and 2 operations.
More than a dozen advisory groups have been created to shape what reopening will look like for various industries. These groups will be coordinated by the Department of Commerce and the Office of Community Initiatives.
This process remains fluid based on developments pertaining to COVID-19 and we will continue to monitor these matters. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or need assistance.
For more information on this and all other COVID-19 related issues please visit our regularly updated RWL COVID-19 Subgroup Page: https://www.rwllaw.com/covid-19-information-and-assistance/.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available. At RWL we continue to stand ready to assist you during these difficult times. We can be reached at (410) 269-5066, online at https://www.rwllaw.com/ and on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.