Gov. Larry Hogan

Hogan

Child care providers across Maryland can return to full capacity, per their license, effective immediately, after an announcement from Gov. Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon Thursday.

There have been no spikes in COVID-19 cases since child care facilities were able to increase their capacity from 10 to 15 children per room in June, Salmon said.

“We have seen very few positive COVID cases in our child care facilities,” Salmon said. “With most school systems remaining in a period of virtual learning or a hybrid model, we understand that the demand for available child care remains very high.”

More than 80 percent of child care facilities and programs have already re-opened, but with restricted capacity, Salmon said. To incentivize more programs to reopen, a one-time $800 grant will be available for family-care providers and a one-time $1,600 grant will be available for center-based child care providers. Additionally, the Maryland State Department of Education will provide $1,000 start-up grants to new family home care providers.

Salmon said she hopes lifting the capacity restriction will limit some of the unregulated and illegal child care provides that have sprung up as “pandemic pods” around the state.

In addition to expanded child care, Hogan also announced, effective immediately, indoor visitation will be allowed in all nursing homes that are either not experiencing a current outbreak of COVID-19 cases or that have not had any new positive cases in the last 14 days.

These announcements came as the state continues to report good health metrics. For the first time since March 28, the state reported on Thursday that there were zero new COVID-19 deaths within the past 24 hours.

While Hogan dictated the favorable news, he also reminded Marylanders that flu season is starting.

“The beginning of fall and the changing weather marks the beginning of the flu season. The First Lady and I have already gotten our flu shots, and I want to again strongly encourage all Marylanders to do the same,” Hogan said.

When asked if he is concerned about a possible resurgence of coronavirus cases as winter approaches, Hogan said he and others are, and that teams are working to prevent it.

“We’re doing better than most states across the country...I think because of the great work of a whole team of people making smart decisions, and thanks to the people of Maryland who have been really vigilant,” Hogan said. “I wouldn’t say we’re not concerned about a potential problem in the fall, but right now, our health metrics could not possibly be any better.”

Hogan was also asked about restaurants and outdoor dining — an activity that will become more and more difficult as the weather gets colder.

The governor said he is concerned about the impact the colder weather will have on restaurants and small businesses, but he can’t force people to eat indoors.

“The polling shows that a pretty large majority of people do not want to go back and eat inside of a restaurant ... Until there’s a vaccine, some people are not going to feel safe,” he said. “Our health department has put out terrific guidance, they’ve provided flexibility, plexiglass dividers between booths, increasing the capacity, but we can’t make people go back to the restaurants.”

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

(7) comments

NewMarketParent

In other news, the state of Maryland has completely given up trying to keep COVID cases at bay and state cases spike yet again.

Greg F

Yep. Reported several places for food prepping food without masks just trying to get some takeout. Until more do the same they just won’t get a clue. No sympathy on any fines. None. Wear your mask...stop being a selfish boob.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

Pretty much, I mean why try? The irresponsible idiots are now in charge of controlling the virus, and you’ve seen what happens when irresponsible idiots are in charge.

You decide what freedoms you want have and when you want to be free to do them, so I guess the governor doesn’t want the schools to open ever because he has effectively taken away that freedom !

NewMarketParent

@vodalone

Part of what is keeping the numbers low is not specifically just the mask wearing, but also the low density the public has been keeping. We are effectively altering that dynamic and just hoping for the best.

First rule of conducting an experiment, don't f&*(^ with the variables.

vodalone

According to some here ::cough Greg F cough:: nobody is wearing masks and people are congregating all over the place, so how do you explain that?

Trump just tested positive, even though I'm pretty sure he'll be fine maybe it will be a wake up call for him as it was for Boris Johnson.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

The governor has decided that he cares more about life after politics than us.

Which is cool for him and all, but it won't get him into a higher office. He can go take a flying leap.

vodalone

First day today since March 28 that no COVID deaths were reported. Could be a blip but hopefully a trend in the right direction. The news that little to no transmission occurs at day cares which led the decision to expand the capacity at those places to 100% is also good news. Spikes will happen regardless of government mandated restrictions, look at what is going on in various neighborhoods in NYC right now. This virus is here to stay even after a vaccine is released and distributed, like most viruses it will very likely weaken to survive as more and more people are exposed to it. The only unknown is how we do in fall and winter with the virus still around.

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