Maryland could return to work slowly under a plan that would allow lowest-risk businesses to begin to open as the key metrics in the COVID-19 pandemic in the state show sustained declines.
Gov. Larry Hogan previewed some of his plan to reopen the state’s economy during a live virtual interview with Politico Thursday.
Hogan said his plan “starts with phases and low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk businesses which are kind of based on high touch or low touch, physical distancing, certain things. We’ll be able to get some quality of life things back where people will be able to get out of their homes, get outside, do things and still in a safe way. Perhaps some small businesses with limited numbers of people, businesses opening in a safe way with masking and distancing.”
Hogan is expected to announce his plan to gradually reopen the state during a Friday news conference. He cautioned that the state’s numbers continue to rise and nothing will happen immediately.
“We’re not going to be flipping a switch tomorrow but we’re going to be laying out a very detailed plan about how we think we can do that safely when the numbers are right.
Last week, the federal government issued guidance to the states on a phased-in process that could be followed in an effort to reboot the economy.
The first step involves states seeing a 14-day decline in COVID-19 related numbers.
The National Governors Association — Hogan chairs the organization this year — has also released a plan that calls for a 10-step process that calls for wide-spread testing, increased contact tracing and hospital capacity and the ability to quarantine infected patients.
Hogan has said that the raw number of cases updated each day is not thought of as the best metric because the number is expected to climb as testing becomes more widely available to the public.
Instead, the governor and his advisers are also watching the number of patients in hospitalized in acute and intensive care beds as well as the numbers of deaths.
“Our plan in Maryland is going to take kind of the best ideas from five or six or seven other plans, get the input of lots of really smart scientists and doctors and public health officials and business folks about how can we reopen your business in a safe and effective way and how do we gradually get people back to normal without having that giant spike and that overload of our health care system,” he said during the interview with Politico.