Coronavirus in Maryland

‘I'm Getting Emotional': Maryland Inches Toward Full Reopening

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Maryland is inching closer to a full reopening. Some believe it’s beginning of the pandemic’s end.

"I do think it’s the light at the end of the tunnel," said Montgomery County resident Alycia Weinberger.

Some believe it’s too soon.

"The last thing we need is another spike," said a woman named Jane.

Others believe it’s too late.

"They should’ve been doing this earlier," said Prince George's County musician Danny the Drumma.

But after more than year of being cooped up inside, Marylanders have plenty to look forward to.

Danny the Drumma said he's most looking forward to, once restrictions are lifted, is the clubs opening back up.

Dirk Darnell, a nurse, said, gesturing at the street around him, "I am looking forward to this, people all around."

Justin Rosentober got vaccinated Thursday. "I look forward to going to camps this summer," he said.

Following Gov. Larry Hogan's announcement Wednesday, statewide restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings and capacity limits at restaurants, malls, gyms and other businesses will be lifted May 15. However, Prince George's County won't fully reopen until May 17, and Montgomery County won’t fully reopen until May 29 -- two weeks after 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

It'll be just in time for families to fully gather for Memorial Day weekend.

"I think it’s a wonderful idea," said Maryland resident Antoine Gregg. "I think it’s well deserved."

Montgomery County resident Alycia Weinberger said, "Actually, I'm getting emotional thinking about it because I’ve been looking forward to that so much."

Montgomery County’s cautious approach has led to some of the lowest infection rates in the state. But Maryland SoccerPlex Executive Director Matt Libber says it’s cost his nonprofit nearly $1 million in revenue, with further losses expected after their annual Memorial Day tournament was moved to Howard County.

"For a while there, we thought we were going to lose all of it, so luckily we are moving in the right direction, but I think this could’ve been changed months ago and we could have been back on our feet," Libber said.

Not everyone is keen on reopening quite yet. Concerns over COVID variants and vaccine hesitancy persist.

"I think it's naïve to think that, like other infections, that we’ll have herd immunity with this one," Jane said.

But, while their opinions on reopening varied, these folks all agreed that things may soon look normal, but it won’t feel that way for some time.

"It' going to feel abnormal for awhile," Gregg said.

Darnell said, "Another year, another year, you just can't — " he snapped his fingers — "it's not going to go away like that."

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