Lately, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has continually warned that the state is, once again, in the “danger zone” when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.
“The weeks and months ahead are going to be very difficult with more and more people getting infected, being hospitalized and losing their lives,” the Republican governor said during a recent press conference. “Our collective actions now will determine what further steps will be needed.”
With case rates and hospitalization numbers climbing statewide, Hogan tightened coronavirus restrictions Nov. 10, returning indoor restaurant service to 50% capacity — down from 75%. He also “strongly” discouraged gatherings of more than 25 people and travel to states with similarly surging COVID-19 metrics.
Days later, he instituted a 10 p.m. mandatory closing time for bars and restaurants, banned fans from attending sporting events and suspended most visitation at hospitals and nursing homes.
Several jurisdictions have tightened restrictions further than Hogan in some areas. Here’s where things stand:
Anne Arundel County: County Executive Steuart Pittman originally planned to halt both indoor and outdoor dining, but reversed course to allow some outdoor dining with restrictions. Then, a Circuit Court judge approved a temporary restraining order allowing indoor dining to continue for at least 12 days, pending proceedings related to a lawsuit challenging Pittman’s executive order. Until at least Dec. 28, restaurants can offer indoor dining at 25% capacity and outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Retail, gyms, casinos, social clubs and personal care businesses can operate at 25% capacity. Religious facilities, which are permitted to have one-third capacity, can host outdoor services for religious holidays with attendance capped at 250 people. Private gyms cannot host sports practices. Fitness centers can conduct group classes so long as each occupant has 150 square feet of space and the space’s capacity doesn’t eclipse 25%, the same measures required to conduct electronic bingo.
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Baltimore City: Starting at 5 p.m. Dec. 11, indoor dining and outdoor dining at restaurants will be prohibited. Only drive-thru, carryout and delivery service can continue. Capacity at retail and religious institutions, gyms, malls, casinos and museums is capped at 25%. Certain indoor recreation facilities, namely hookah lounges and strip clubs, will be closed. At casinos, eating and drinking won’t be allowed, and at gyms, group fitness classes are prohibited. Sports gatherings are prohibited as well.
Baltimore County: Since Nov. 15, all gatherings not related to businesses already subject to state orders have been limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Beginning Tuesday Nov. 17, all youth recreational sports — indoor and outdoor — were prohibited.
Harford County: Since Nov. 13, county facilities have been closed to the public, including indoor parks and recreation facilities. Organized outdoor activities on county fields, including sports tournaments, were suspended, although county parks are still open. County employees were authorized to telework until further notice.
Howard County: Since Nov. 17, indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people have been prohibited. Those restrictions include family gatherings, parties, cookouts, parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers, but did not include retail stores, religious gatherings, wedding receptions, indoor theaters or outdoor entertainment venues. Since Nov. 27, the gathering limits have included wedding receptions and recreational sports. The county’s recreation and parks department announced the cancellation of all sports tournaments Nov. 23.
Montgomery County: Since Nov. 10, restaurants, gyms, museums, retail establishments and religious facilities have been limited to 25% capacity. For other businesses, such as bowling alleys and hair and nail salons, capacity is limited to 25% or 25 people, whichever is lower. As of Nov. 24, the county also banned indoor gatherings of more than 10 people, save for the businesses and establishments previously allowed to stay open at reduced capacity levels. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Effective Dec. 15, indoor dining is suspended, though outdoor dining, delivery and carryout services are permissible. That order extends to food courts in malls. Large retail stores, including groceries, have been limited to one person per 200 square feet of retail space, or 150 people, whichever is lower. Indoor sports games have been limited to 10 people per facility.
Prince George’s County: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Dec. 10 that the county is closing indoor dining as of Dec. 16 at 5 p.m.. Outdoor dining will be capped at 50% capacity, she said. Casinos and retail will have capacity reduced to 25%, she said.