PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — It's a big day for Prince George's County. It moves into Phase 2 of reopening Monday. A lot of businesses that have been shut down for months welcomed the news, but things won't be fully back to normal just yet.
Prince George's County has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Maryland. That's why it’s one of the last counties to move into the next phase of reopening. Only Montgomery County remains in Phase 1 in Maryland. That county plans to move to Phase 2 on Friday.
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said several non-essential businesses and services can reopen.
County leaders said the decision to move forward is due to the improvement of metrics and data in the county. Rates of death continue to drop, coronavirus positivity cases made a 27% drop since last week, and there is a steady decrease in hospitalizations, leaders said.
Here's what Phase 2 of reopening looks like:
- Retail stores: In-store service is available with a 50% capacity and a safeguard of only five people per 1000 square feet.
- Barbershops and hair salons: Are open with a 50% capacity and use of PPE. This includes face masks and gloves for all employees.
- Customers must also wear masks, and shops must have appropriate floor markings to create adequate social distancing.
- All CDC guidelines for cleaning high use surfaces must also be followed.
- Nail salons and spas: Can reopen with a safeguard of one customer per 200 square feet. Social distancing must be followed and the use of PPE.
- Restaurants: Indoor and outside seating is permitted at a 50% capacity. No more than six people can be at a table and no more than 50 people can be inside the restaurant regardless of space.
- Employees must receive health screenings prior to their shifts, and all CDC guidelines must be adhered to. Additionally, all employees must wear face coverings, and restaurants must have hand sanitizer and appropriate hand washing facilities available.
- House of worship: Can open for gatherings of 25% capacity or less with social distancing. Otherwise, they must maintain online services only.
- Childcare services: Open to essential employees and those returning to work.
- Youth sports: Can resume, but must be nine children to one coach in an outside setting.
- Outdoor pools: Can operate and open at 25 percent capacity or less with social distancing. No indoor pools will be open.
- Gyms and fitness centers: Remain closed.
- Parks: Open to fitness, fitness classes, and low impact sports.
- Government workers: A limited number of employees can return to work. Officials still encourage employees to telework.
Retail stores, barbershops and hair salons can all begin reopening. For stores, there will be capacity limits: 50% of the people will be allowed in based on the size of the the store.
It's the same for salons and barber shops, and each client must have an appointment. Staff must wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks and have floor markings to create adequate social distancing.
Nail salons can now reopen by appointment only. PPE must be used and there are limits on how many people can come inside.
When you do go shopping, you also must remember to wear a face mask.
Restaurants may open with both indoor and outdoor seating now. No more than 50 people will be allowed at any outdoor restaurant. Employees must receive health screenings before their shifts.
Places of worship can also reopen, but only at 25% capacity. Daycares are also on the list to reopen, staggered drop offs and pickups are a must. Facilities must do daily symptom checks and have a strict dismissal policy in the event of positive cases.
Outdoor community pools, both public and private, may open at 25% percent capacity and must practice proper social distancing guidelines. Indoor pools will remain closed. Outdoor youth sports may resume in small groups -- no more than nine children and one coach, and no more than 50 people in any area.
Different to Phase 2 in other areas, gyms, fitness centers, and other indoor physical activities will remain closed, as well as amusement parks, casinos and enclosed shopping malls. For now, spas, massage and tattoo parlors will also remain closed.
County government buildings will remain closed to the public. County government will return a limited number of employees to increase some additional services. However, they are encouraging employees to continue teleworking.
For more information on Phase 2 of reopening in Prince George's County, check here.
Alsobrooks encourages anyone who attended the protests to get tested for the coronavirus. You can call the Prince George's County coronavirus hotline to set up an appointment at 301-883-6627. Residents are asked to continue social distancing, even in the midst of reopenings.