As coronavirus infections and deaths continue at a low, steady pace in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday relaxed more pandemic-induced restrictions — and encouraged residents to prepare for the upcoming flu season.
Nursing homes that have limited visitors to outdoor meetings will now be able to offer indoor visits if the facility doesn’t have an outbreak or any new positive cases in the last 14 days, Hogan said. If the local jurisdiction’s positivity rate rises above 10%, no visitors will be allowed, as well.
And child care centers can increase the number of children they serve. Providers will now be able to operate at full capacity.
Since May, Hogan has gradually lifted restrictions so that almost all businesses are open in some fashion, though most must operate with capacity limits and follow health precautions. Masks continue to be required in indoor spaces and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
The expansion of child care will likely come as a relief to both child care businesses that operate on tight margins and parents who have struggled to find quality care while public schools continue to operate remotely.
Child care centers have been limited to no more than 15 individuals per classroom since July — an increase over restrictions from earlier in the pandemic, but less than the pre-pandemic limits of up to 20 children per group for certain ages.
State schools superintendent Karen Salmon said health officials have seen few cases in child care centers, calling the operators “heroes” who go out of their way to keep children safe. But even as more providers reopened — 82% — demand remains high due to classroom restrictions.
Salmon said that hopefully this action will help crack down on the number of unlicensed child care centers that have opened up to facilitate