Beachgoers in Ocean City, Maryland came out in droves this past weekend after the state’s stay at home order was lifted on Friday, May 15.
Photos of the popular vacation spot show people of all ages out and about, enjoying the sun and sand while indulging in boardwalk treats and activities. Many appear to disregard social distancing protocols, hanging out in large groups and coming within six feet of others. Many also appear to be without face masks.
Ocean City mayor Rick Meehan opened up the city’s beach and boardwalk on May 9, despite Maryland’s stay at home order remaining in effect at the time — allowing individuals to access the beach and boardwalk for essential activities only, like exercise.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan lifted the state’s stay at home order days later on May 15, entering stage one of Maryland’s phased reopening plan. Now, the state is under “a Safer at Home public health advisory,” according to a press release from the governor, which calls for “gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services” on an individual jurisdiction basis.
Todd Dudek/Dudek Photography
The Safer at Home advisory encourages citizens to stay at home — especially if they are vulnerable to the virus — but no longer penalizes those who chose to ignore the previous social distancing guidelines.
“As we begin to slowly and cautiously lift restrictions at the state level, we are encouraged that local leaders have embraced our flexible, community-based approach to gradual reopenings,” said Hogan in the press release.
Todd Dudek/Dudek Photography
“While lifting the statewide Stay at Home order and gradually moving into Stage One is a positive step forward, each and every one of us has an obligation to exercise responsibility for ourselves, for our families, our co-workers, and for fellow Marylanders so that as a community, together, we can begin to safely get back to work and get back to our daily lives,” he continued.
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Maryland’s Stay at Home order first went into place on March 30 — the same day as in Virginia and Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post, violators of the order were subject to one year in jail or a fine of as much as $5,000, or both.
“We are no longer asking or suggesting Marylanders to stay home,” Hogan said during a news conference in Annapolis. “We are directing them.” No end date for the order was given at the time.
As of May 18, there have been 39,882 total cases of coronavirus in Maryland, and 2,023 deaths.
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