ANNAPOLIS — With some states experiencing a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday mask restrictions at indoor places and a travel advisory to certain states.
Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, masks must be worn inside all gyms, casinos, restaurants, bars and office buildings. The state order has already been in effect at grocery stores and for public transit.
In addition, masks must be worn in outdoor public areas when social distancing isn’t possible.
Hogan also placed an advisory on out-of-state travel to states with a positivity rate above 10%. Those states include Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and Idaho.
Hogan suggested Marylanders who must travel to those states take a coronavirus test upon their return and remain quarantined until they receive test results.
He also mentioned the federal government identified 21 “red zone” states due to high coronavirus cases. Maryland did not make the list.
“We are not immune. The virus does not recognize state borders,” he said at the State House in Annapolis. “However, we do find ourselves at a fork in the road — a critical turning point, where we would continue making progress, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up much like the rest of the country.”
As of Wednesday, the state has 86,285 confirmed coronavirus cases, up 761 from the previous day.
The state health department reported Wednesday that 29 patients had to be hospitalized for a total of 571 statewide. The figure stood at 385 on July 10.
Hogan reiterated the state would not enter the third phase of its economic reopening plan. He said about 90 percent of the state remains open except for large venues such as theaters, sport stadiums and concert arenas.
He read off statistics from the health department, which found that the activity or event during which people caught the virus the most was family gatherings, followed by house parties and outdoor events.
People working outside their homes were at greatest risk of infection.
“We’re keeping Maryland safely open for business,” he said. “We do that by making sure that everyone is following the public health guidelines and by doing the things necessary to keep us from looking like those other states.”
Locally, Prince George’s County conducted inspections during the weekend of sports activities such as football, basketball and soccer.
Although basketball rims have been taken down at schools and courts managed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a few courts at places overseen by homeowner associations remained intact.
Residents are asked if they see group activities of 10 or more people to call the county’s Ambassador Compliance Team at 301-883-6548.
The state positivity rate stands at 4.7%, but Prince George’s remains one of three counties above 5%. As of Tuesday, the majority-Black jurisdiction has the most confirmed cases in the state at nearly 22,500.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks will hold a press conference Thursday to provide an update on the county’s coronavirus response.