As Maryland reported its most coronavirus deaths Tuesday since June — 26 people — Gov. Larry Hogan announced new rules that banned fans from stadiums and set new limits on hospitals and nursing homes in hopes of slowing the latest wave of cases.
The Republican governor’s actions come a week after he tightened restrictions on restaurants and continued to discourage large family gatherings and parties.
The latest set of restrictions will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.
"This is not the flu. It’s not fake news. It’s not going to magically disappear just because we’re all tired of it and we want our normal lives back,” Hogan said at a State House news conference.
Here’s what you need to know:
Do restaurants and bars have to close early?
All bars and restaurants must be closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for carryout and delivery.
Restaurants are permitted to operate at only 50% capacity for indoor dining.
Is there anything that is still able to operate at 75% capacity?
No. All retail businesses, including grocery stores and religious institutions, were rolled back to 50% capacity.
Are the restrictions the same in every county?
Local leaders are able to dictate whether they would like to enable stricter restrictions in their county.
Several Baltimore-area jurisdictions tightened rules further, with Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Howard County limiting private indoor gatherings to 10 people.
I’m thinking of going to a sporting event. Can I still do that?
Hogan said Tuesday that no fans are allowed at horse racing tracks and professional and college stadiums.
Has anything changed about the status of nursing homes?
Nursing home visits are suspended, except in cases involving “compassionate care.” In those cases, visitors must show a recent negative coronavirus test. Nursing homes must also test residents weekly and employees twice weekly.
Will my elective surgery be canceled?
There are no statewide measures that force cancellation or postponement, but Hogan is urging doctors and hospitals to avoid admitting patients for elective procedures, especially if they might require intensive care, ventilator treatment or inpatient rehabilitation.
Can I visit my loved one in the hospital?
Hospital visits are suspended, with exceptions for patients who are dying, are giving birth, are minors, or have disabilities.
I don’t understand why we have more restrictions. What changed?
Maryland reported 2,149 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the second-highest daily total during the pandemic, and 26 deaths tied to COVID-19, the most reported in a single day since June.
The state has reported 1,000 or more new cases for 14 straight days. Tuesday was the second time in four days it reported more than 2,000 cases after not doing so previously during the pandemic.
With cases surging, virus-related hospitalizations have spiked, rising to 1,046 Tuesday, 61 more than Monday, the state reported. Just two weeks ago, hospitalizations in Maryland stood at 562. Tuesday marked the first time since June 7 the state has seen more than 1,000 hospitalizations.
Among those hospitalized, 255 needed intensive care, 18 more than Monday.
Do I have to keep wearing a mask?
Yes. Hogan’s executive order mandating masks to be worn both indoors and outdoors is still in effect.
Are hospitals prepared if cases keep rising?
Yes. The Maryland Department of Health issued a “surge order” allowing hospitals that are full or nearly full to transfer patients to other hospitals. The goal is to alleviate crowding as the number of coronavirus patients continues to climb.
When will these restrictions end?
It’s unclear. Public officials have warned that the coming months could be some of the worst of the pandemic.
Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood, Alison Knezevich and Ben Leonard contributed to this article.