Maryland To Life Remaining COVID Restrictions

( Maryland is following suit of a lot of other states in their region, finally.

On Wednesday, the state’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, said all the remaining coronavirus-related restrictions will be lifted this Saturday. That includes any restrictions that are still placed on sporting venues, entertainment venues and restaurants.

For now, Maryland will keep its indoor mask mandate in place. However, Hogan said he would lift that mandate once at least 70% of the residents in Maryland receive at least one dose of any of the coronavirus vaccines.

Hogan later said that he expects that to happen by Memorial Day weekend, which is only a few weeks away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least 65% of Maryland residents have received one dose of a vaccine already.

At a Wednesday news conference, Hogan said:

“Effectively as of Saturday, every business in Maryland will be able to open at 100% without restrictions.”

Hogan already lifted existing capacity restrictions that were on outdoor dining as of May 1. Still, indoor dining was limited to only 50% of capacity. That level had been in place for the last few months.

In addition to the removal of the capacity restrictions, restaurants won’t have to abide by a social-distancing requirement of having at least six feet between tables in the building. This will truly allow restaurants to operate at full capacity.

Some other states have landed somewhere in between. In New Jersey, for example, there will soon no longer be capacity limits on restaurants. However, these businesses will still need to keep six feet between tables, unless they erect physical barriers between the buildings.

That exception will in effect prevent many smaller restaurants from being to operate at full capacity.

When Maryland’s new rules go into effect, it will make the state the first in the Washington, D.C., area to lift all of its restrictions as well as its mask mandate.

On May 21, Washington, D.C., will have almost all of its capacity restrictions on businesses removed. Some restrictions will still remain, though.

For example, as of that date, there will be a 50% capacity limit on large entertainment venues and sports arenas, as well as nightclubs and bars. That capacity restriction won’t be fully lifted until June 11 in Washington, D.C.

Hogan said at his news conference that this decision was made because the daily number of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths reported recently are going down significantly. He explained:

“We believe we are taking the prudent steps. We’re not taking it today because we want to continue making a little more progress.”

Despite lifting the state-wide restrictions, and eventually the indoor mask mandate, Maryland will still allow individual counties to impose stricter rules. This goes against how some other states are approaching the return to normal.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, signed an executive order that makes illegal for local jurisdictions from imposing any restrictions on a local level. Only the governor would have the power to impose coronavirus-related restrictions state-wide.