Sen. Eckardt offers reopening guidance

Sen. Addie Eckardt

ANNAPOLIS — Beginning May 15, Maryland entered Phase 1 of reopening. Maryland will move from a “Stay at Home” order to a “Safer at Home” advisory. County leaders will have the power to make decisions on the timing.

Retail stores can reopen with 50% capacity. Manufacturing can resume with proper safety precautions.
Churches and houses of worship can resume with 50% capacity and are encouraged to hold outdoor services. Some personal services, such as hair salons, can reopen by appointment only, at 50% capacity.

Back to Business
Businesses are encouraged to take the “Back to Business” pledge. Business owners are urged to follow best practices to ensure a safe reopening.
Businesses are encouraged to:

• Create an environment that allows for physical distancing between individuals (6 feet is recommended) to the extent possible.
• Ensure their place of business is routinely cleaned and encourage employees to frequently wash their hands.
• Provide flexibility to employees, provide training and education and clearly communicate policies and procedures.
• Reduce and disinfect as many “high touch surfaces” as possible.
• Follow guidance provided by the CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and our own industry.
• Best practices and the back to business pledge can be found at the Back to Business website.
Unemployment Update
On Tuesday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, of which I am a member, and the Senate Finance Committee held a 10-hour joint hearing to listen to the problems that Marylanders are experiencing with the unemployment process. On May 13, Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson addressed House committees.
The Department of Labor continues to process an unprecedented number of claims. We understand the delays and frustrations individuals are facing when applying. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance.

Revenue Estimates
Last week, the Board of Revenue Estimates provided updated estimates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The more optimistic estimate assumes the Federal government provides further relief to the State. Under this scenario, Maryland would face a $925 million decline for fiscal year 2020, a $2.1 billion decline for fiscal year 2021 and a $2.6 billion decline for fiscal year 2022.

A worst-case scenario estimates that Maryland would face a $1.1 billion decline in fiscal year 2020, a $2.6 billion decline in fiscal year 2022 and a nearly $4 billion decline in fiscal year 2022.
The governor, the Board of Public works, and the Legislature will need to adjust our policies to account for these shortfalls.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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