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How county executives are answering Maryland Gov. Hogan’s plan to relax COVID restrictions at bars and restaurants

With Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to drop seating limits Friday at bars and restaurants statewide, decisions now fall to county leaders about whether they will try to maintain tighter restrictions under local rules. Here’s how they’re answering the governor’s plan.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is the only leader in the region who has rejected the governor’s urging for local leaders to “fall in line” with the state’s move.

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“The numbers and public health indicators clearly do not warrant a reopening at the Governor’s pace at this time,” Scott’s spokeswoman Stefanie Mavronis said in a statement. “The Mayor remains confident in Baltimore’s authority to maintain the common sense, local public health mandates currently in place.”

The city currently has a 25% capacity limit on indoor dining and 50% limit on outdoor dining. The statement did not specify what specific restrictions the mayor might keep or enact, though Mavronis said they will seek to keep the restrictions the same.

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The mayor’s office will release more information before the COVID-19 news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.

“The Mayor will be addressing St. Patrick’s Day at tomorrow’s presser,” Mavronis said.

Baltimore County will lift coronavirus-related capacity limits on restaurants, bars, stores and religious establishments starting 5 p.m. Friday, following Hogan’s lead, County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced Thursday.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced that he will follow the governor’s lead and will lift all capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants, stores and houses of worship beginning 5 p.m. Friday. People still have to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said he would follow the governor’s recommendations and lift all restrictions at 5 p.m. Friday.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that he would align the county with the governor’s recommendation.

Officials in Carroll County also said they would follow the governor’s recommendations.

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