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Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that Maryland will enter the second stage of reopening from its extended coronavirus shutdown, following continued drops in the number of people hospitalized for covid-19 and a steady decline in the state’s rate of positive coronavirus tests.

More nonessential businesses, ranging from auto dealerships to nail and tanning salons, will be allowed to reopen starting at 5 p.m. Friday. But many restrictions, including a ban on indoor restaurant dining, will remain in place.

Hogan (R) said local officials will continue to be able to use their own discretion on whether to move their counties and cities to this phase of the reopening.

Last month, the state’s largest jurisdictions, including Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus, opted out of moving to Stage 1 of the state’s timeline.

The two jurisdictions entered Stage 1 on Monday.

Montgomery and Prince George’s officials said Wednesday that they would also delay entering the second phase of reopening.

Parts of Virginia — but not the Washington suburbs — will also enter Stage 2 of reopening on Friday.

“Moving into Stage 2 does not mean this crisis is behind us,” Hogan said, encouraging residents to continue to wear face masks when they are inside shops, offices and businesses and to practice social distancing.

“While we’re excited to get much of our economy restarted, I want to be very clear, just because Marylanders can return to the office doesn’t mean that they should,” he said. “Employees who can telework should continue teleworking whenever possible.”

Hogan said nail salons and tanning salons will be limited to 50 percent capacity and must operate by appointment only.

Employees at real estate offices, travel agencies, auto showrooms, bank branches and other offices are encouraged to wear face masks when interacting with customers or other workers. Hogan also recommends that those businesses take temperature checks of staff and limit the number of employees who are working at any given time by implementing split shifts or shorter workweeks.

Hogan said state government will also “begin returning to normal” on Monday, after a nearly two-month hiatus. The Motor Vehicle Administration and state transit system will also resume operating on a limited schedule.

He said if trends related to the coronavirus continue to move in the right direction, the state could reopen amusement parks, fitness centers and other summertime activities to coincide with the end of the school year.

In a briefing for state lawmakers on Wednesday, Thomas V. Ingelsby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said he felt “confident” about the state’s reopening plan but was still bracing for a new wave of infections.

“We should be prepared for a rise in cases in the next two to four weeks,” said Inglesby, who serves on the governor’s recovery task force. He said mass rallies in recent days to protest the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who was killed after being pinned down on the ground by police, have added to the risk.

“Some of the hardest decisions are coming and I don’t think there are answers to them yet, including issues around indoor restaurants and entertainment, larger gatherings, school reopening, university reopening,” Inglesby said. “All those activities will have more risks than the things we have so far.”

Inglesby said he had just a “few concerns” about Hogan’s reopening decision, including his move to allow churches to hold indoor services, at up to 50 percent capacity, starting late last month.

“I’m concerned about the risk there, but I understand that was dictated by legal requirements at the state level,” Inglesby said.

A spokesman for Hogan did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what legal requirement the state may have faced.

Inglesby said Maryland has been “moving in the right direction” on many of its coronavirus metrics. He noted that occupancy of beds in intensive care units has dropped from a high of 611 a few weeks ago to 481, and hospitalization of patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has decreased from a high of 1,700 to about 1,100.

He said the state will need to “keep close watch” on those numbers and be prepared to put a pause on reopening if needed.

On Wednesday, Virginia, Maryland and the District reported 1,603 new coronavirus cases, bringing the region’s total known infections to 110,903.

There were 68 new deaths. The death toll in the region is now at 4,542.

More than 2,700 people are hospitalized with the virus, including 285 in the District and 1,311 in Virginia, according to health department numbers in each jurisdiction.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties each reported 193 and 185 new cases, respectively. Montgomery County had nine new deaths, bringing its total fatalities to 633. Prince George’s County had 13 new deaths, for a total of 565.

The District reported 130 new cases and three new deaths. In Virginia, Alexandria had two deaths, bringing its total to 46. Arlington had three deaths, bringing its total to 120.

Fairfax County reported 170 new cases and five new deaths.