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Maryland to lift stay-at-home order starting Friday

Maryland will lift its stay-at-home order beginning on Friday, but the state's D.C.-area suburbs will not yet move forward with reopening, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday. 

Hogan said the state has met its benchmark of a 14-day trend of plateauing and declining numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations. The number of ICU patients has plateaued and is trending down, as is the rate of new deaths, Hogan said.

Hogan said the new "safer at home" public health advisory will allow retail stores to reopen with up to 50 percent capacity and strong physical distancing.

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Manufacturing companies may resume operations, and personal services like barber shops and hair salons may also reopen at up to 50 percent capacity, and by appointment only.

Religious services will also be allowed to continue, but Hogan encouraged faith leaders to hold services outside. 

Social gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be prohibited. Restaurants, bars and gyms will remain closed, with exception of food takeout, delivery and curbside services.  

However, Hogan said he understands not all counties are in the same position. Montgomery County and Prince George's County, the two closest to D.C., have the highest number of cases in the state and will not move forward.

"While lifting the stay at home order and gradually moving to stage 1 is a step forward, it does not mean we are safe and that this crisis is over," Hogan said. "Low risk does not mean no risk." 

Hogan said citizens should continue to maintain physical distancing, and employers should continue to encourage telework. Everyone should continue wearing masks in indoor public areas, retail stores, and on public transit, he said.