Baltimore County will embrace Gov. Larry Hogan’s latest orders on reopening and discard earlier local orders, County Executive John Olszewski Jr. said.
Hogan’s order moves the state into the second phase of reopening effective 5 p.m. Friday. Nonessential businesses previously ordered to close will be able to reopen, though gyms, fitness centers, entertainment venues, malls and movie theaters will remain shuttered.
Olszewski said the county has a 7.9% positivity rate among coronavirus tests conducted, a number below the state average. But that’s not the only reason Olszewski is getting rid of the county’s own guidance.
He said the county is moving ahead in part “because we know that the patchwork approach in this state has caused some problems,” including an “uneven playing field” for businesses whose counterparts elsewhere can reopen.
“It’s also a reminder that we are not out of the woods,” Olszewski said. “This virus is as much with us now as when this pandemic started.”
Olszewski said his office continues to work with local chambers of commerce to identify streets that can be closed to allow for expanded dining and didn’t rule out issuing new local orders as the data demands.
He urged state education officials to release a plan for reopening more child care facilities to accommodate the parents who will have to return to work when the order takes effect.