FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. — Frederick County will begin Phase 1 of its full reopening on May 29, County Executive Jan Gardner said Thursday. The stay-at-home order for the county would be extended until then with exceptions.
"We are moving into new territory," Gardner said Thursday. "We should do it slowly and cautiously.”
Gardner and health officials shared the county currently has a 15.2% positivity rate, with 0.6% of population testing positive.
The new May 29 date reopening of Phase 1 would follow Maryland's statewide reopening plan announced by Hogan.
That means that on May 29, the following businesses can reopen at 50% capacity, with continued social distancing enforced and the wearing of masks strongly encouraged:
- retail stores
- barbershops/ hair salons
- pet groomers
- animal shelters
- religious institutions (outdoor services encouraged, but indoor allowed at 50% capacity)
- art galleries
- car washes
The county is already following a partial reopening that began on May 15, which allowed the following businesses to resume:
- Retail stores for curbside pickup only
- Small retail shops under 10,000 square feet can operate at 50% capacity
- Car washes
- Pet groomers
- Manufacturing plants
- Animal adoption centers
Small retail shops are encouraged to limit cash transactions and must also make sure customers are wearing face masks. A manager or supervisor must stand outside of the store to make sure only the necessary amount of people are allowed in, and all employees must also be wearing masks.
Gardner has emphasized that she understood the need for continued protection to Frederick County’s nursing homes, which had “our greatest number of deaths and our worst outcomes."
More testing for asymptomatic people and for all nursing homes is still needed, but Gardner said she also understood the importance of allowing businesses to begin to resume. Increased social distancing and PPE coverage is still mandatory in the county.
On May 21, Gardner and Dr. Barbara Brookmyer announced that testing data from two nursing homes in the county showed three additional residents testing positive with a total of 15 staff testing positive. The county is looking for more data and is wishing to test more nursing homes.
Governor Larry Hogan said Maryland has achieved the 14-day trend of plateauing and declining numbers of hospitalizations, ICU patients, and rate of new deaths all trending downward over the last two weeks, allowing the state to move forward and begin Phase 1 of reopening May 15.
Other counties like Prince George's and Montgomery, who account for nearly half of the state's cases, have announced they will not make any changes to the current stay-at-home order restrictions.
The county has also launched a dashboard for live updates on cases, which you can view here.