Yea: With the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate at its lowest in months, Gov. Larry Hogan took big steps to reopen more of Maryland on Wednesday.
From permitting high school sports practices, summer schooling and outdoor graduations to reopening restaurants at 50 percent capacity, Hogan continues letting the numbers dictate when things will resume.
Restaurant reopenings are welcome news for foodies but much more important steps for restaurant owners who own some of the hardest businesses hit by the pandemic. Most were either forced to shutdown completely or switch over to carryout only. Countless cooks and wait staff were quickly out of work.
This coming Friday, indoor gyms and fitness centers, malls, arcades and casinos can open with capacity limits and public health measures in place.
With positivity rates declining and hospitalizations way down from the peak, it’s time for these changes. At the same time, we must be careful. With no vaccine likely for months, we still have to be vigilant. Like we’ve been saying, wash your hands, keep social distancing and wear masks when appropriate. Otherwise, we could find ourselves back in the same boat this fall. And no one wants that.
Nay: Yesterday marked the end of graduation week for high school seniors, though it was without the usual pomp and circumstance that goes with it.
We’re disappointed for these grads that they weren’t able to experience their proms and graduations. That disappoinment was compounded yesterday when Gov. Hogan announced that school systems in the state can now host outdoor graduations as long as they are done with social distancing in mind.
Seems a little late for that, doesn’t it? School systems have asked repeatedly to be allowed to do just what the governor is suggesting. And each time, they were told no. If the governor had made this decision a few weeks earlier, there certainly would have been a lot more happy families and grads.
Nay: This has not been a good year to be a fan of the Frederick Keys. It wasn’t too long after last season ended that the Keys were found on a list of teams that could be eliminated as Major League Baseball looks to cut costs. Just a few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all sports.
For the Keys, it was the kind of double play can silence a cheering crowd.
As Maci Hill, the team’s new director of marketing told our reporter Greg Swatek, “Strangeness is at an all-time high.”
She’s right. It’s strange that it’s now the middle of June and we haven’t had the chance to catch a game at Nymeo Field.
We recognize that there are plenty of more important issues facing us right now. And those issues need our full attention. But we also miss the quiet distraction that comes with the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd and the close play at home.
We hope we get that chance real soon.
Yea: The pandemic has been tough on artists, too.
With closures of galleries and cancelations of shows that many of them rely on for their livelihoods, everyone from painters, to illustrators to sculptors and the like have struggled. But some of them have also found ways to keep going, and even give back.
For instance, when Frederick graphic artist Matthew Long lost his gig as the official artist for the Washington D.C Cherry Blossom Festival, he began creating COVID-19 inspired designs for masks and hand sanitizer labels.
Staci McLaughlin, a Frederick fabric artist, used extra fabric to make masks for first responders and others on the front lines. And New Market artist Bill Watson used COVID as inspiration for his most recent downtown show, and created designs for T-shirts that were sold to raise money for Feeding America.
We applaud all of these efforts, and the efforts of all artists, musicians and entertainers who have stepped up in unique ways during these tough times.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to email@example.com.