Governor Hogan Announces Lifting of Capacity Limits, Masking and Distancing Protocols Maintained
ANNAPOLIS, MD—With sustained vaccine progress and significant improvements in all of the state’s key data metrics, Governor Larry Hogan announced new actions to further ease the COVID-19 mitigation measures currently in place.
“With the pace of vaccinations rapidly rising and our health metrics steadily improving, the lifting of these restrictions is a prudent, positive step in the right direction and an important part of our economic recovery,” said Governor Hogan. “These steps are made possible because of Marylanders wearing masks, washing their hands, keeping their distance, and following the public health advice, and because our businesses have carefully followed safe reopening practices and public health guidelines in order to help keep their employees and customers safe.”
The governor was joined by Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz, as well as former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, the state’s senior adviser for public health.
EFFECTIVE FRIDAY, MARCH 12 AT 5 PM:
- CAPACITY LIMITS LIFTED, MASKING AND DISTANCING PROTOCOLS MAINTAINED. Capacity limits will be lifted on outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants and bars, retail businesses, religious facilities, fitness centers, casinos, personal services, and indoor recreational establishments. Bars and restaurants will be open for seated and distanced service only—patrons may not stand at a crowded bar. Masking, physical distancing, and other safety protocols will remain in place. Read the order.
- LARGE OUTDOOR AND INDOOR VENUES MAY OPERATE AT 50% CAPACITY. Large outdoor and indoor venues may begin operating at 50% capacity. This includes theaters; concert, convention, and wedding venues; racing facilities, and outdoor entertainment and sporting venues. Masking, physical distancing, and other safety protocols will remain in place.
- MEDICAL ADULT DAY CARE CENTERS TO REOPEN. Medical adult day care centers may reopen, with facilities able to set appropriate restrictions and safety measures. Read the order.
- QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS LIFTED; TRAVEL ADVISORY REMAINS IN PLACE. Quarantine requirements and other restrictions on out-of-state travel will be lifted. A Maryland Department of Health (MDH) travel advisory will remain in place, and Marylanders continue to be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 upon their return from out-of-state travel.
ADDITIONAL ORDERS AND GUIDANCE:
STATEWIDE MASKING ORDER REMAINS IN EFFECT. Maryland’s statewide masking order remains in full force and effect. This requires the wearing of masks or face coverings at any public indoor facility, including retail establishments, fitness centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, personal service establishments, in the public spaces of all public and private businesses across the state, and when using public transportation. Masks are still required in all outdoor public areas whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
TELEWORK. With contact tracing continuing to show some transmission among individuals who are working outside the home, particularly in office settings, the state continues to encourage employers to support telework whenever possible.
LICENSING AND PERMITTING. The governor’s order authorizing the suspension of license and permitting expirations will sunset on June 30, 2021. Timeframe suspensions made before this order will remain in effect until June 30, though agencies may terminate them earlier. Agencies are explicitly authorized to conduct virtual hearings and meetings. Read the order.
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES:
WESTERN MARYLAND MASS VACCINATION SITE. The governor announced that the Western Maryland mass vaccination site in Hagerstown will open one week early on Thursday, March 25. This will give the state at least one mass vaccination site in each region. The state is in active discussions with jurisdictions that have expressed an interest in hosting a mass vaccination site.