(CNS News) -- Although mask and social distance mandates will continue, on Friday, March 12, the majority of COVID restrictions in Maryland will be lifted, according to Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
“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,” he added.
Out-of-state travelers will now be allowed to return without a quarantine guideline, under the new order.
Mask mandates will continue to be in effect.
The first restrictions began March 9, 2020, nearly a year ago banning out-of-state travel for state employees, according to a CBS network timeline of Maryland’s COVID response.
Montgomery City Council President Tom Hucker, a leftist Democrat, took to Twitter to criticize the governor’s move. "Unsatisfied with Maryland's ranking among the worst states for vaccine rollout, and pressured by TX Gov. Greg Abbott, Gov. Hogan redoubles his efforts to drive cases up and MD's ranking down,” wrote Hucker.
So far, the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the FDA, and are being distributed to nearly 2 million eligible Maryland residents.
Maryland started delivering vaccines in late December of 2020, under the Trump Administration.
The state is in Phase 1C, which allows frontline workers, such as postal workers, manufacturers and lab servicers, to receive the vaccine.
The governor’s office posted the rules to take effect on Friday at 5:00 p.m.
- 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.