Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced late Tuesday afternoon the state will remove capacity restrictions on restaurants from its statewide order, effective 5 p.m. Friday, March 12. Each jurisdiction in Maryland has permission to move at its own pace, however, so counties surrounding D.C. won’t necessarily ease precautions on restaurants as quickly.
The governor’s announcement maintains Maryland’s mask mandate and requires restaurants to continue enforcing rules requiring customers to stay seated and socially distanced. Although the governor is opening up dining rooms across the state, Maryland has not yet made restaurant workers eligible to receive the vaccine, and indoor dining continues to be linked to spikes in coronavirus figures. Food service workers fall under Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan, which has progressed to Phase 1C. Maryland has fully vaccinated 10.7 percent of its population, according to the Washington Post.
Hogan’s previous executive order capped indoor and outdoor dining at 50 percent, but Montgomery County and Prince George’s County — both bordering the District — currently allow indoor dining at 25 percent.
Hogan is also rescinding capacity limits at retail businesses, salons or other personal services businesses, religious centers, gyms, casinos, and indoor recreation centers like bingo halls or bowling alleys. Indoor venues and outdoor venues such as sports arenas, stadiums, theaters, and music halls will be allowed to host 50 percent capacity under Hogan’s new order.