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Maryland governor says state will reopen businesses based on risk level

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday said that he hopes to begin looking at reopening some businesses in the state by assessing their risk level, as governors around the country mull reopening their state's economy amid the coronavirus crisis.

Hogan, in a live video interview with Politico, said that businesses would be categorized into three groups: low, medium and high risk and that a risk level would be based on how well it lends itself to social distancing guidelines, among other things.

The governor noted that any major reversal of the current stay-at-home mandates wouldn't happen until the state experienced two straight weeks of decreased cases. He said that despite the fact that numbers have been improving, the region has reported more than 27,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Wednesday.

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“We’ll get some quality of life things back, in a safe way, with masking and social distancing,” Hogan said. “Every one of us wants to get things open as quickly as we can, but we’re only going to do that in a safe and smart way. It’ll be a while before you see people close together.”

Maryland's roadmap to reopening — introduced by Hogan on Tuesday — largely mimics guidance released by the National Governor's Association, of which Hogan is chairman.

The state's roadmap has four key elements: expanded testing capacity, increased hospital surge capacity, increased stock of personal protective equipment and a well-established contact tracing network.

Opening the economy prematurely, Hogan warned, could have disastrous ramifications.

“It does concern the experts that this virus has the potential to come back, which is why we’re doing it carefully and gradually,” he said.

“We’re working it from all directions, but let’s get them back to work in a way that will keep them safe," he continued, adding that he would give more details concerning the state's recovery plan on Friday.