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Hogan’s decision to reopen Maryland surprised local officials, business leaders

Maryland’s swift and far-reaching plan to reopen businesses and public venues took many key stakeholders by surprise, interviews with officials, business and health leaders show, and went further than some industry representatives had requested.

Aides to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) declined to answer questions Wednesday about whom the governor consulted before announcing he would lift restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses that had been in place for nearly a year.

Outside public health experts described the decision to reopen Friday at 5 p.m. as “premature” given the state’s coronavirus metrics. Hogan’s order Tuesday also revoked local-level restrictions, leaving county leaders scrambling to decide whether and how to reimpose stricter rules in the face of plateauing coronavirus cases and widening spread of concerning variants.

“We’re thrilled,” said Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, whose members had been hoping for changes after contact-tracing showed little transmission in retail settings and other states began lifting restrictions.

At the same time, she added, “there’s a good bit of confusion-slash-waiting right now around the county governments.”

Click here to read the full article from the Washington Post!

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