Starting Friday, September 4, at 5 p.m., Governor LarryHogan is permitting jurisdictions across the state of Maryland to decide if they want to transition to the third and final COVD-19 recovery stage.  

Governor Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday, September 2, that, based on the state’s improving health metrics, Maryland will begin to move into Stage Three of the "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery," with additional safe and gradual reopenings. As with Stages One and Two, Stage Three will be implemented in multiple phases with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

“As we move into this third and final stage of our recovery, I want to sincerely thank our doctors, nurses, and public health officials, our small business community, and, most importantly, the people of Maryland who have pulled together over the last five months to respond to this unprecedented challenge with incredible courage and perseverance,” Hogan said. 

“It is thanks to all of you that we have crushed the curve and saved lives, and that our state response to this global pandemic continues to serve as an example for the rest of the nation.”

This is what stage three looks like:

Indoor Theaters

Indoor theaters where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 100 people per auditorium—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.

Outdoor Venues

Outdoor venues where live performances occur or motion pictures are shown outdoors may open to the general public at 50% capacity, or 250 people—whichever is less—with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.

Retail and Religious Facilities

Capacity for retail establishments and religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75 percent.

Updates on Schools, Youth Sports, and Elections

Schools

The Maryland State Board of Education recently voted to require school systems that have not developed a plan for returning any students for any in-person instruction until 2021 to reevaluate their reopening plans by the end of the first quarter. 

Last week, the governor announced that, as a result of improved COVID-19 health metrics, every county school system in Maryland is authorized to begin safely reopening, but made clear that the legal authority and final decision making on safe openings rests with county boards of education. Guidance to support the safe reopening of schools can be found here.

Youth Sports

The governor reiterated that while counties may issue more restrictive rules, state health officials issued an order on June 12 allowing all youth sports gatherings and events to begin resuming. “County governments of course, by law, do have the power to be more restrictive, but it is the position of the State of Maryland that our young people should have the opportunity to play sports this fall, and we are encouraging local health officials to reassess their guidelines,” said Governor Hogan.

Elections

As of September 2, the State Board of Elections has mailed out ballot applications to every Maryland voter. Marylanders are strongly encouraged to take advantage of voting by absentee ballot or to participate in early voting. Those who choose to vote in-person on Election Day are encouraged to do so at off-peak times to avoid long lines and crowds.

Additionally, more than 11,000 Marylanders have signed up to serve as election judges. The governor continues to urge local election boards to immediately contact and train these election judges and poll workers.

Exposure Notifications

In collaboration with Apple and Google, Maryland will be one of the first states to deploy a new exposure notification tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Exposure Notifications Express is designed to help public health officials more quickly and easily provide notifications for their residents about potential COVID-19 exposure and guide them on recommended actions. This new technology will be optional for users.

For more information, visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery for more information about the "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery."