May 6, 2020, 3:55pm EDT
Maryland’s stay-at-home order could be lifted as early as next week, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday while also announcing an immediate easing of restrictions on some low-risk activities and the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year.
Hospital admissions and intensive care unit admissions in Maryland have been trending down for the last week and if those trends continue into next week, the state could be ready to reopen under stage one of Hogan’s recovery plan, the governor said during a press conference. Stage one of the plan would allow for some small businesses to reopen, as well as for outdoor religious meetings and other gatherings.
But given the downward trend, Hogan also announced an easing of two restrictions, including immediately resuming elective procedures at the discretion of hospitals and lifting limitations on some outdoor activities at 7 a.m. Thursday.
Those outdoor activities include golf, tennis, boating, fishing and camping. Beaches and playgrounds at state parks can also reopen and local governments can take similar actions at their discretion.
Hogan urged Marylanders to continue to observe social distancing and other public health guidance.
“I realize that these are only small steps and that they may be of little comfort to those who are out of work and are struggling financially, but it is thanks to all of you and your incredible sacrifices that we are making great progress, we are flattening the curve and we are preparing to launch our reopening plan,” Hogan said.
The reopening of parks will be welcome news for many parents as classrooms will not reopen this school year. Schools have been closed since March 16, although online learning is ongoing.