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Maryland Counties Tighten Restrictions on Restaurants as Coronavirus Cases Spike

Montgomery County and Prince George’s County are reducing indoor dining capacity to 25 percent

A worker sanitizes a tabletop inside a restaurant at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland
A worker sanitizes a tabletop inside a restaurant at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in June
Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Government officials in Maryland this week have followed the lead of cities and states across the country that are ramping up public health restrictions in response to spikes in COVID-19 cases. The Washington Post reports that the 145,835 new cases recorded nationwide Wednesday, November 11, marked the sixth daily record in a span of eight days. The number of patients hospitalized grew to a record number of more than 65,000.

Maryland reported 1,419 new cases from November 5 to November 12, marking a 51 percent increase over that week. This week an order from Governor Larry Hogan, effective Wednesday, November 11, mandated that restaurants across the state must roll back indoor seating capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent, and indoor gatherings must be capped at 25 people. Although D.C. has seen a 36 percent rise in new cases over the past week, it has maintained its Phase 2 reopening restrictions (50 percent capacity for indoor dining). Meanwhile, cities including San Francisco and Chicago have recently moved to ban indoor dining.

Throughout the pandemic, Hogan has permitted jurisdictions to enforce stricter rules as they deem fit, which has created jumbled rules in cities across the state. Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, areas that border D.C. and represent the worst-affected areas in Maryland, have generally been more conservative than the rest of the state.

Here’s a look at the rollbacks in different counties across Maryland:

  • Montgomery County: Effective as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 10, a Montgomery County executive order limits restaurants to 25 percent capacity (down from 50 percent), requires restaurants to keep a record of contact tracing information for all indoor and outdoor customers for at least 30 days, and cuts off alcohol service at restaurants and bars at 10 p.m.
  • Prince George’s County: Effective 5 p.m. Sunday, November 15, Prince George’s County will limit indoor dining capacity to 25 percent and restrict indoor gatherings to 10 people.
  • Anne Arundel County: Effective Friday, November 20, Anne Arundel County will reduce indoor dining limits from 50 percent capacity to 25 percent capacity. Effective Friday, November 13, indoor gatherings are capped at 10 people.
  • Baltimore City: Effective 5 p.m. Thursday, November 12, Baltimore restaurants must limit their indoor capacity to 25 percent, but dining rooms can stay open until 11 p.m., an hour later than previously allowed. Since Friday, November 6, Baltimore has mandated that masks are required in all outdoor spaces and inside any business.
  • Maryland counties add coronavirus restrictions as infections rise across the Washington region [WaPo]