ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Howard County is the latest jurisdiction to join Maryland in phase one of its reopening plan.
On Tuesday, County Executive Calvin Ball announced retailers would be able to reopen at half capacity, beginning on Friday at 7 a.m.
Barbers and hair salons can also reopen at 50% occupancy, but by appointment only.
Nail salons, esthetician services, tattoo, and massage parlors are still closed.
Religious institutions will be allowed to hold outdoor services for up to 250 people, while indoor services will still be limited to 10.
Ball cited "promising trends" as his reasoning for the partial reopen.
“After spiking to 78.8% on May 15, the ICU utilization rate at Howard County General Hospital has fallen or stayed the same for 7 of 14 days, and as of May 23 was at its lowest level since April 1. The ventilator utilization rate for the same time period is 18.6%," said Ball. "The average daily case count, which is expected to rise as testing becomes more available, is down to an average of 27 cases per day after surging to an average of 33 cases for the two-week period that started on April 26th. Lastly, Howard County has increased the number of contact tracers from two people when the pandemic started to 35,” Ball said.
Restaurants and bars remain open for curbside pickup, carryout/takeout, and delivery only.
All workers and customers are still required to wear face masks and maintain proper social distancing.