A PIECEMEAL REOPENING AS DIFFERENT PARTS OF STATE SET THEIR OWN RULES: Baltimore City as well as Prince George’s and Montgomery counties will all extend stay-at-home orders for their residents as Gov. Larry Hogan lifted his statewide order and is relaxing statewide distancing requirements, Talia Richman for the Baltimore Sun reports. See a roundup here.
- The decisions of local leaders mean at least half of Maryland residents will still be under stay-at-home orders, Sophie Kaplan reports for the Washington Times.
- It’s essentially the regional opening that Hogan warned against in the past because residents of one county might go to another and spread the virus, Bruce DePuyt writes for Maryland Matters.
- Four out of six hospitals in Montgomery County have reached their maximum capacity for intensive care patients and can’t handle more cases, which is playing into decisions to keep stricter restrictions, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
In Baltimore, Mayor Jack Young is blaming the lack of enough testing to open on the state, Brandon Weigel reports for Baltimore Fishbowl.
- Young’s health commissioner said the ideal number of tests in the city before reopening would be 2,700 tests a day, and for the most recent full week the city tested an average of 571 tests per day, Emily Sullivan, John Lee and Joel McCord report for WYPR. Young also said the state needs to provide more protective equipment.
- Howard County will move forward with opening many businesses under Hogan’s restrictions and manufacturing will be allowed to resume, Ana Faguy reports for Baltimore Sun Media.
- Anne Arundel and Annapolis will thread the needle between total restrictions and moving forward with phase one with smaller steps, such as allowing hair appointments but no religious services, reports Olivia Sanchez for the Capital Gazette.
- Some plans aren’t even announced yet. Cecil County County Executive Alan McCarthy is scheduled to hold a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss his plan to gradually lessen restrictions, Candice Spector and B. Rae Perryman report for the Cecil Whig.
- In Frederick County, County Executive Jan Gardner (D) cautiously announced reopening of some businesses beginning Friday at 5 p.m., Steve Bohnel reports for The Frederick News-Post.
VACATION SPOTS OPEN HOTELS, RENTALS: Starting Thursday night, hotels and rentals in Ocean City will be allowed to rent their properties, McKenna Oxenden reports for the Sun. Previously, only essential workers were allowed to rent hotel rooms.
- Effective Thursday the town of Ocean City is also repealing its rule that visitors traveling from the New York, New Jersey or Connecticut region must self-quarantine for 14 days, Matthew Prenskey reports for the Salisbury Daily Times. The Times has a video of hundreds lined up with physical distancing stickers and cones outside Thrasher’s fries.
- Up at Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County officials lifted the order that had closed rental properties, Joseph Hauger reports in the Garrett County Republican.
- BUSINESSES REACT TO REOPENING PLANS: Washington County businesses shared reactions with Mike Lewis for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
- With manufacturing resuming, it’s actually a “pretty big deal,” reports Holden Wilen for the Baltimore Business Journal. An estimated 30-40% of manufacturers have been closed.
- Carroll County businesses planning to reopen are coming up with creative solutions to operate under restrictions, and will continue curbside offerings, Akira Kyles writes for the Carroll County Times.
- Some restaurant owners are upset that their line of work was left out of phase one reopening, and they’re wondering how long they will have to wait to at least partially open, Lowell Melser reports for WBAL-TV.
- Though it isn’t opening yet, concert venue Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia is making improvements, maintaining landscaping and looking forward to the day it can reopen, the Business Monthly reports.
REVENUE LOSS PROJECTIONS UPDATED: Projected revenue loss from the state’s general fund due to the coronavirus pandemic may not be as severe as was previously anticipated, Bryan Renbaum writes for MarylandReporter.com on the virtual hearing testimony from Maryland’s top economist.
- The revised financial forecast issued Thursday shows the state could miss between $925 million and $1.125 billion by the end of June — still a significant amount that is likely to result in budget cuts affecting state services and state employees, and will set the state up for years of budget woes, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.
- For the first time in history, Montgomery County government will take out a line of credit, Adam Pagnucco writes on the blog Seventh State and speculates that the county is worried about the havoc the COVID-19 crisis could wreak on county finances.
AUDIT FOR MISSING DAYCARE PAYMENTS: The Maryland State Department of Education is doing phone audits with each daycare provider to address complaints that some providers haven’t gotten paid by the state for providing daycare to children of essential workers, Erin MacPherson reports for WMAR.
MARYLAND LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP REVIVED: “Saying no one is above the law, a bitterly divided federal appeals court Thursday revived Maryland’s claim that President Donald Trump has committed corruption of constitutional consequence in the handling of his property in Washington,” Steve Lash writes for The Daily Record.
- Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) said they intend to pursue 38 subpoenas previously issued in the case, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.
COMMENTARY: BRING BACK FIREWORKS: Del. Mike Griffith, a former Marine, is urging Bel Air leaders to reconsider their decision to cancel Independence Day Fireworks and craft a plan to offer them safely, he writes on Dagger News Service. “After surviving the freezing winter at Valley Forge, the many strenuous battles of the Revolution, the economic draining of the colonists to support the Continental Army, and the fear of defeat and accompanying treason charges, our ancestors emerged victorious,” he writes. “So will we.”
COVID-19 FUNDS FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS CHALLENGED: A nonprofit group has filed a federal lawsuit against Montgomery County seeking to prevent local officials from distributing COVID-19 relief funds to people living in the country illegally, arguing a state law had not authorized undocumented residents to be eligible for the funding, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
MASKS ON METRO: “Metro bus and train riders will be required to wear face coverings starting Monday,” Sophie Kaplan reports for The Washington Times.
ST. MARY’S COUNTY HEARING ON CARES FUNDS: St. Mary’s County will hold a public hearing to authorize the county to spend money from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, reports Madison Bateman for the St. Mary’s Enterprise.
UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM BLASTED IN ONLINE HEARING: Many Marylanders used harsh words like “epic failure” and “complete disaster” to describe the state’s much-ballyhooed new system for filing for unemployment benefits, Regina Holmes writes for MarylandReporter.com about a virtual hearing of two Maryland Senate committees.
- Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson described how the department is trying to rectify complaints after the system was completely overwhelmed with a 5,000% increase in claims, Holmes reports further.
AFRO, NAACP DEBATE SPARKS SPIRITED EXCHANGES: The Baltimore Branch of the NAACP and AFRO AMERICAN Newspapers sponsored a mayoral debate on Facebook that took a fractious tone as the six candidates grappled with the city’s troubled past and future framed by COVID-19, Sean Yoes reports for AFRO.
MAYORAL RACE PAC SHUT DOWN: A political action committee that supported Baltimore mayoral candidate Mary Miller is shutting down after a leaked email revealed a strategy to target white voters in a majority-black city, Talia Richman and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report.
HAS COVID HURT DIXON’S CHANCES?: Former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s candidacy now begs a fundamental question, Luke Broadwater writes for the Sun. “Is Dixon a front-runner, as earlier polling suggested? Or has COVID-19 — which turned the race from door-knocking and rallies to video ads — reduced her chances?”
PREAKNESS TO BE RESCHEDULED: Instead of seeing the Preakness when viewers tune in Saturday, they will hear an announcement of the new date of the race, Marcus Dieterle reports for Baltimore Fishbowl. Gov. Larry Hogan and Belinda Stronach of the Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club, will make the announcement.
CONTESTED JUDICIAL ELECTION IN ANNE ARUNDEL: The candidacy of Wes Adams for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge is attracting attention beyond county boundaries, Ryan Miner blogs at A Minor Detail. Adams is running against four judicial candidates appointed by Hogan and a private attorney in the nonpartisan primary.