BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Most Maryland counties will reopen under stage two of Maryland's recovery plan, including Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Carroll and Cecil counties.
"We remain concerned that these re-openings could send a signal that the virus is no longer a threat. That's not the case. The only way to make this work is to continue face coverings, social distancing and best practices. We ask residents and businesses to continue to do their part," wrote Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said a "patchwork" of reopening rules was "confusing" and left businesses on an "uneven playing field."
He also criticized Governor Larry Hogan for not notifying local leaders ahead of his reopening announcement Tuesday.
Olszewski also urged caution. "This virus is as much with us now as it has been when this pandemic started," he said. "If we see a significant increase, we will take action to make sure our residents are safe. We are not pre-committing to future steps at this point."
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Stage two allows most retail and offices to reopen. Exceptions include stores with interior entrances in malls and gyms. Also, restaurants and bars are still not allowed to host customers indoors.
Baltimore's Mayor Jack Young said Friday the city would fully move into phase 1 Monday, June 8.
Young also announced the Baltimore Health Corps, a $12 million program funded by both the public and private entities. The corps will hire more than 300 people to trace the contacts of those who have tested positive for COVID—19, among other duties.
"We all know that we're facing an economic crisis as well as a health crisis. This initiative tackles both," said Jason Perkins-Cohen, who directs the Mayor's Office of Employment Development.
Baltimore City residents are given preferential treatment for the temporary jobs that offer a stipend for health insurance and pay between $35k and $80k.
You can apply by clicking here.
Also Thursday, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen spoke to some members of Congress about the disparities involving minorities and the coronavirus.
"It is a new disease that has unmasked long-standing health disparities among African Americans and other minorities who now bear the greatest brunt of this pandemic," Dr. Wen said.
She called racism a nationwide health crisis.
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