Due to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, primarily among Marylanders under the age of 35, is a big, red “stop sign” for the state’s reopening efforts said Gov. Larry Hogan in a press conference Wednesday.
The state, which is currently in Stage 2 of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery program to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, is not ready to move on to Stage 3, said Hogan.
All Maryland jurisdictions will remain paused at Stage 2 and not move into Stage 3 “until it is safe, prudent, and thoroughly backed by the data and science to move forward,” he said.
The state has been in Stage 2 since June 3, which allows “medium risk” activities like indoor dining and elective outpatient procedures at hospitals. Stage 3 is described as the addition of “high risk” activities, most of which involve higher caps on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
“We have about 98% of our economy able to open,” Hogan said. “We have very few things not open at this point other than large events like football games and movie theaters and concerts. Everything else is open. We’ve done it in a safe and effective way. We want to keep it that way.”
Effective immediately at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31, the current statewide masking order will expand to require masks or face coverings in public spaces and all businesses across the state, including in outdoor public areas whenever it is not possible to maintain six feet of physical distancing.
While Maryland is not on the Federal list of red zone states – which includes states with heavily reported COVID-19 outbreaks like Texas and Florida – officials are urging caution.
The Governor announced on Wednesday that Maryland has “paused” its advance to phase three and will sustain phase two restrictions “for the foreseeable future.”
While Maryland – and neighboring Virginia – are exempted from D.C.’s quarantine list, both of those states are on New York’s list. The Governor also issued a travel advisory, asking residents to refrain from venturing to states with positivity rates of 10 percent or higher.
The list includes Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Idaho.
Also, the Governor revealed some of the results of the state’s contact tracing data.
According to state analysts, family gatherings were the main culprit for spreading the virus, with 42 percent of the cases.
House parties accounted for 23 percent, and outdoor gatherings accounted for 21 percent.
Click here to read the Governor’s mask order.