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Reopening Maryland: Gyms, Malls Among Businesses Reopening As More COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- More businesses, including gyms, malls and casinos, reopened their doors at 5 p.m. Friday as Maryland continues to lift restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Larry Hogan had announced gyms, malls and casinos could reopen with some limitations Friday evening as the state continues to move through its coronavirus recovery plan.

In Baltimore City, Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young announced restaurants, gyms, churches and malls could also reopen at 50 percent capacity at 5 p.m. The mayor had been criticized by some, including the governor, for moving slower to reopen the city than other parts of the state.

Planet Fitness in Towson is among the many gyms that were able to open Friday evening. Some equipment will be off-limits to give people space. Masks are required here except while on the machines.


Justin Drummond showed WJZ the sanitizing wipes and signs that are part of the new protocol to keep people safe.

"We are making sure that it is evident and kind of in your face so that you have all the means to protect yourself and each other," Drummond said.

The state is also allowing casinos to open starting Friday, but many will not open then.

Preparations are underway at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, which will initially open only to loyalty cardholders and at just 50 percent capacity with temperature checks. No one with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be allowed inside. Masks must be worn at all times. The mayor has not yet given his approval for the Horseshoe to open again.

On Thursday, casino manager Randy Conroy said he supports whatever timetable the mayor and city health commissioner decide.

"Once they give us the green light, I need about four days to reopen the casino, and I'm ready for that," he said.

Half of the 2,100 slot machines will be shut down for social distancing. They will be cleaned every four hours and there are large tubs of sanitizing wipes. Bill changing and ticket machines will be cleaned once every two hours. Conroy expects about 700 of the roughly 1,300 staff members to return initially, although that number could change based on demand.

Arundel Mills, Harford Mall, Towson Town Center, and White Marsh Mall will reopen on Saturday, June 20.

The Maryland Zoo will also reopen on June 24 for members and June 27 for members of the general public.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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