Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced during a press conference on Thursday afternoon that outdoor pools in his state would be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity beginning Friday, May 29 at 5:00 PM. The lone hold out is Montgomery County, which is a co-owner of the large Rockville-Mongtomery Swim Club, which means that club will likely have to wait to reopen.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has also announced that his state will allow Richmond and Northern Virginia to move into Phase One of the state’s reopening plan on Friday. Much of the state has already allowed pools to open, with a maximum of one swimmer per lane, previously, but left restrictions in place in some of the harder-hit parts of the state.
Northern Virginia and Richmond are home to much of Virginia’s densest swimming communities. The restriction of 1 swimmer per lane, with a maximum of 10 team members participating at the same time, remains in place for all opened areas of the state.
This about-face comes after a week of big pressure from multiple DC-area teams, including the country’s largest swim club Nation’s Capital, which has sites in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
Of the team’s 4 listed facilities in Maryland, only one, at the Quince Orchard Swim & Tennis Club, is outdoors.
Paris Jacobs, the COO Machine Aquatics which has been leading an effort to meet with President Donald Trump this week to discuss ways to reopen the country’s pools, says that her team will have access to outdoor pool space in Prince George’s, Maryland starting on Monday when the county lifts its restrictive orders. The team has also contracted outdoor pool space in Virginia.
While not regular Machine sites, the club has rented several outdoor pools in Maryland and Virginia that they hope to use when restrictions are listed.
Jacobs says that she believes, if both Maryland and Virginia allow outdoor pools into a phase 1 opening, that her team will be able to get around 500 swimmers into the water at least 1 day per week.
Washington D.C. has also announced that they will end their stay-at-home order Friday, but pools are expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Maryland’s general trend in new coronavirus cases continues to be generally upward, though this week has seen some signs that the state may be peaking. The number of new reported deaths caused by COVID-19 has been on a steady decline for several weeks. The state has 48,748 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,392 confirmed deaths caused by COVID-19.
Virginia, meanwhile, has seen its two highest days of new coronavirus cases this week after recently entering phase 1. While deaths in the state did begin to drop last week, they have resumed an upward climb this week.