Starting Monday, Prince George’s County retail stores, barbershops and nail salons can reopen at 50 percent capacity as the coronavirus-related restrictions slowly lift.
Restaurants can provide indoor dining with no more than six people seated at a table and each table must be separated by at least six feet.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the removal of these restrictions Thursday as a part of the majority-Black jurisdiction’s second phase of reopening businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must all do our part to continue to be safe,” she said. “COVID-19 is still very much a part of our community. We are not out of the woods, although things have improved.”
Some of the other measures include churches and houses of worship can open at 25 percent capacity, or maintain outdoor and virtual services.
Child care will be allowed for both essential workers and employees at businesses that plan to reopen.
Outdoor youth sports activities can resume with no more than nine children and one coach per group and no more than 50 people in one area.
Outdoor public and private pools can open, but only at 25 percent capacity and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
One of the county’s biggest businesses, the MGM casino resort, will remain closed. Also, malls will not reopen during this second phase.
Meanwhile, Alsobrooks encouraged residents who participated in protests throughout the region to get a coronavirus test. She plans on taking a test Thursday afternoon after she participated in a peaceful march last week at National Harbor.
“I know people across Prince George’s County are hurting,” Alsobrooks said. “This has been a terrible and difficult time. This year has been a trial. We have hung together. We have prayed together. We have worked together following the advice of experts to help us protect the lives of our family members, friends and our colleagues and our residents.”
Ernest Carter, chief health officer for the county, read statistics that show improvement.
For instance, the average number of deaths the week of April 19 stood at 74. By the end of May, the figure was about 50, Carter said.
Also, hospitalizations are currently at an average of fewer than 150 positive cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, per day since June 1, down from 262 on May 9.
The county’s positivity rate, which was 41.4 percent at its highest during the week of April 19, has now dropped to 11.4 percent. The jurisdiction remains the only in Maryland with a double-digit rate and has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state.
The county’s health department plans to open a third testing site Monday in Laurel. The other two testing sites at Rollingcrest-Chillum Recreation Center and Cheverly Health Center are open Monday through Friday.
“I am so grateful for our brave hospital and health care workers as well as the residents for diligently following the [safety and health] guidance,” Carter said. “You all helped us get to this point in the COVID fight. We have to stay strong. We’ve got to stay smart. We’re winning this battle, but we have to stay disciplined to get across the finish line.”