Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Maryland, US, to ease certain COVID-19 restrictions Sept. 4. Local authorities may maintain stricter measures.

Alert Begins 02 Sep 2020 03:29 PM UTC
Alert Expires 18 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Maryland (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions

Summary
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an order to further ease restrictions Sept. 4, which have been in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the new directive, Maryland will move to Stage 3 of its economic recovery plan.

The new order stipulates that starting Sept. 4, indoor movie theaters and live performances may open, allowing up to 50 percent of its maximum capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues for live performances or movies may also open at 50-percent capacity, or up to 250 people, whichever is less. Retail stores and places of worship may increase their allowed capacity to up to 75 percent.

Other previously imposed restrictions will remain in place, including a requirement for all residents and visitors over the age of five to wear protective facemasks in public areas of all businesses across the state, as well as in outdoor settings whenever social distancing measures are not possible. A travel advisory also remains in place, strongly urging residents to avoid travel to other US states with COVID-19 positivity rates over 10 percent, and recommends anyone traveling from those areas to obtain a COVID-19 and self-quarantine while they wait for the test results. As of Sept. 2, the states affected under the advisory are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Restaurants, personal care services, gyms and fitness centers, casinos, and outdoor entertainment venues can operate at 50-percent capacity. All establishments must comply with state mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including enforcing social distancing guidelines, implementing enhanced sanitization procedures, and ensuring the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Cities and counties are allowed to impose or maintain stricter restrictions that those directed by state authorities. Authorities in the city of Baltimore will maintain the closure of movie theaters and venues but will allow restaurants to increase indoor capacity to 25 percent. Authorities in other major jurisdictions, including Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore counties, have not decided whether to join the state orders or maintain stricter restrictions, as of Sept. 2.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent hand-washing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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