Charles County Commissioners Announce Approval of Outdoor Dining, Additional Activities Beginning May 29

News Release, Charles County Public Information Office

On Thursday, May 28, the Board of Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss completion of Stage One of Maryland’s “Roadmap to Recovery.”  They voted unanimously to move forward with outdoor dining, opening of outdoor pools and other activities in accordance with Stage One of Governor Hogan’s executive order that becomes effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

This decision authorizes the following businesses and activities to resume beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29:

  • Restaurants as well as social organizations such as American legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs may begin to safely re-open for outdoor dining only; following strict public health requirements in accordance with the governor’s orders.
  • Outdoor pools may also reopen in accordance with strict safety guidelines, including 25 percent capacity restrictions and strict physical distancing and sanitization measures.
  • Youth sports and youth day camps may also resume, operating under strict safety protocols and capacity limitations.

Businesses are advised that an online permit application for a temporary outside service area will be available after 5 p.m. today along with guidance documents regarding the opening requirements at www.CharlesCountyMd.gov.  This application must be completed and returned prior to opening to the public.

Charles County Commissioners previously initiated the County’s initial move to Stage One, which allows certain retail businesses, houses of worship, and other personal services to re-open on Friday, May 29.

This decision authorizes the following businesses and activities to resume during their normal business hours beginning on Friday, May 29:

  • Retail businesses may re-open to 50 percent of their normal capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged. Examples of retail businesses that may re-open include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, and bookstores. Enclosed malls may not re-open at this time, except for stores with access to the public directly from the outside. St. Charles Town Center Mall is planning for the re-opening of certain stores with outside access beginning next week.
  • Churches and houses of worship may begin to hold religious services, up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged.
  • A limited number of personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may re-open with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only. Nail salons and establishments that provide esthetic services, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and massage parlors must remain closed to the public at this time.

Before making these decisions, Commissioners received briefings to gather data and other relevant information from County Attorney Wes Adams; Dr. Howard Haft, who is county’s response to COVID-19 for the Charles County Health Department; Director of the Department of Emergency Services Michelle Lilly; CEO of Charles Regional Medical Center Noel Cervino; and Chair of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Tom Blandford. After considering the feedback, legal advice, and additional information from public health experts, they decided to move forward with the decision to gradually expand the re-opening of more businesses and activities in Charles County.

“Charles County’s decision to completely implement Stage One of the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery depends on each one of us,” stated Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “As we gradually re-open for business, the health and safety of our community can only be ensured if every retailer, restaurant owner, personal services provider, and each customer they serve do their part. That means continuing to wear face masks, maintain social distancing, ensure frequent handwashing, and follow strict cleaning protocols.”

Residents are advised to assess their own health situation before deciding to head out to newly opened establishments. For the latest updates on the Coronavirus, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you are infected, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov. Re-opening guidance for public spaces, workplaces, and businesses is available at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD:  800-735-2258.


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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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