Now is not the time for more (or less) statewide restrictions on public places. The current limitations are accomplishing their goals of keeping crowd sizes modest and encouraging people to be outside.
It would be naïve to believe at some point the state and most areas of the country will not return to some sort of quarantine situation resembling what we experienced in the spring. With predicted spikes when the cold weather merges with the arrival of flu season, it seems inevitable there will be another shutdown in the name of public health. The only uncertainty seems to be when.
However, the time is not now. The letter from western shore jurisdictions to the governor asking for the imposition of more restrictions on public place gatherings and limits on businesses may be appropriate for their own areas, but it’s not something that should result in a statewide Executive Order at this time. The individual jurisdictions are well within their rights to impose their own restrictions, like Baltimore City did when it suspended indoor dining this week.
Worcester County is not a hot spot for COVID-19. There are an increase in cases, but it’s not rampant and not cause for a panic. The resort area is seeing an influx of visitors as it does each summer. It’s inevitable service industry people would be infected. Businesses choosing to shut down after an employee tests positive should not be confused with a massive problem. These operators are being responsible and acting out of an abundance of caution for themselves, their employees and their customers. They are placing health before wealth and should be commended.
It would send a terrible message to the business community to regress to further restrictions, such as abandoning inside dining, for example. The current situation does not merit more government intervention at this time. Handicapping these well-intentioned businesses at the height of the season would be “irrational,” as the state’s Republican senators wrote encouraging Gov. Larry Hogan to resist any urge to slap restrictions on businesses who are by and large acting responsibly and oftentimes in the unenviable position of having to police their customers into wearing facial coverings and maintaining social distance.
Worcester County is not a hot spot for COVID-19 and it should not be treated as such. Health officials said as much this week during a meeting with county officials. Fortunately, the governor is looking beyond positive case totals and viewing the situation through a larger lens. This approach should serve Maryland well in the critical weeks and months ahead.