ANNAPOLIS, Md. — At his most recent press conference on July 29, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan[R] announced that the state will be staying in the second stage of reopening after seeing slight increases in specific COVID-19 metrics across his jurisdiction.

“The level of increase in our hospitalizations is enough however to trigger a stop sign, calling for a pause in further reopening plans,” Hogan said. “We have been fully open in all Stage 2 activities since June 19. We will remain paused at this point and not move into stage three openings until it is safe, prudent and thoroughly backed by the data and medical science to move forward.”

Additionally, Hogan announced he is directing the Maryland Department of Health to issue a public health advisory against travel to or from states with positivity rates at or above 10%. This advisory includes personal or business travel to Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Idaho. Maryland residents are asked to get tested if they travel, and self-quarantine until results arrive.

He also announced that the original statewide mask mandate, which came into effect back on April 18, will now be expanding. As of July 31, all Marylanders will need to wear a face-covering when entering into any business and in outdoor public areas when social distancing isn’t possible.

The governor also went further in-depth in providing an update on contact tracing across the state, including some new surprising statistics.

“In the beginning of this crisis, we used contact tracing to identify those who had been infected by COVID-19 and those who they may have been in contact and given the virus to,” Hogan explained. “But now, we have evolved our contact tracing strategy to identify patterns and to identify where and how the virus is spreading… but its effectiveness relies on the participation and cooperation of Marylanders.”

According to Hogan, the main activity that was reported by 44% of all people asked of Marylanders who were being traced was attending family gatherings. Second, 23% were people attending house parties, and 21% said they attended some form of an outdoor event.

Additionally, Hogan touted that the contact tracing which has been conducted across the state has shown that teleworking options have helped to keep the state open at this time. However, he continued emphasizing social distancing, wearing a mask and discouraging travel.

“I am guilty of this myself… I think it’s very easy to feel comfortable thinking that just because you haven’t gone out to what we have thought of as a high-risk activity, that you are perfectly safe…” Hogan said. “We sometimes just think about high-risk activities, but the reality is you can just as easily get this virus just by going to work in an office, or just by attending a backyard barbecue… We can’t afford to let our guard down.”

Contact Zach at