Citing a mountain of data showing declining COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday plans to complete Stage 1 of Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery — allowing outside dining and more recreational activities effective 5 p.m., Friday, May 29.

“All of this progress allows us to now safely move forward with the completion of Stage 1 of the recovery plan,” Hogan said at his Wednesday press conference. “Restaurants as well as social organizations…will be able to begin safely reopening for outdoor dining following strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, the FDA, and the National Restaurant Association.”

The plan comes with stringent requirements to avoid an uptick in new infections, on a day when the COVID-19 fatalities in the state approached 2,300.

The requirements to reopen include keeping patrons “appropriately distanced” and no more than six people can be seated at a table.

Menus must be disposable or sanitized between uses. Staff must sanitize tables and chairs between uses.

Workers are required to undergo wellness checks before their shifts and wear face coverings when interacting with patrons. They also must be trained in COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Hogan encouraged local leaders to help arrange for outside seating by closing off streets and moving into parking areas to “help expand the footprint for safer outdoor dining.”

Hogan also reopened youth sports and day camps with limitations and guidelines.

The guidance below is taken from the Governor’s website

Restaurants must:

  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

YOUTH SPORTS. Outdoor youth sports may resume following appropriate CDC guidelines including:

  • Limited, low-contact outdoor practices focused on individual skill building versus competition.
  • Limited group sizes.
  • Limited touching of shared equipment and gear.
  • The ability to engage in physical distancing while not actively engaged in play.

Guidance and best practices for youth sports.

YOUTH DAY CAMPS. Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume under the following guidance:

  • Capacity limitation of no more than 10 individuals in a group.
  • Daily COVID symptom checks for youth camp staff and campers.
  • No out-of-state or overnight campers will be permitted.
  • Physical distancing and masks will be required for all staff and campers.

Department of Health directives regarding youth camp programs.

Guidance and best practices for youth day camps.

OUTDOOR POOLS. All outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines including:

  • 25% capacity restrictions.
  • Strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
  • Patrons will be required to sign-in and sign-out.
  • All pools will be required to post signage warning anyone who is sick not to enter.

Department of Health directives regarding swimming pools.

Guidance and best practices for outdoor pools.