Maryland readies for 'stage one' of coronavirus reopening plan, Gov. Hogan says

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state may begin to relax some restrictions due to a decrease in coronavirus cases and prepare for reopening.

In a press conference Wednesday, the governor said that the state has "seen a good trend in hospitalizations" over the last five days, and if this continues through the week, “we will be ready to lift the stay-at-home order and begin stage one of our recovery plan."

"We are indeed flattening the curve, and we are preparing to launch our #MarylandStrong reopening plan in order to safely get people back to work, to safely get our small businesses back open again, and to get our economy back on track," he also tweeted Wednesday.

Maryland first issued a stay-at-home order on March 30. A plan to reopen the state was not released until April 24 when Hogan put out a three-stage strategy -- but he did not release any specific dates on when that would happen at the time.

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Stage one of the plan will likely be implemented next week, Hogan said, and it includes reopening “certain types of businesses and lower-risk community, religious and quality of life activities.” The governor did not give a specific date for possible implementation of the reopening plan.

Maryland has had more than 28,000 confirmed cases and 1,300 deaths from the coronavirus. But in recent days, a plateau in the number of hospitalizations has meant that Maryland authorities can begin the first of three stages in reopening the state.

“As long as Marylanders continue to take personal responsibility, continue to practice social distancing and continue to follow the guidance of public officials” Marylanders can expect to start reopening the state, Hogan said.

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State parks and beaches will reopen starting Thursday at 7 a.m., and outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing and hiking will also be allowed.

All schools will remain closed at this time.

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Restaurants and bars are not expected to reopen until stage two of the plan is initiated. But Hogan did not say when that might occur.