Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced that bars and restaurants in Maryland will no longer be required to close at 10 p.m. starting Monday.
He said in a statement that the move was based on improving COVID-19 numbers in the state.
The case rate, test positivity rate and hospitalizations are all at their lowest in weeks, Hogan said in the statement, and Maryland’s estimated transmission rate has remained below 1.0 since Dec. 27. That means each COVID-19 patient on average is transmitting the coronavirus to less than one other person — a sign the virus is retreating rather than spreading faster.
“With our data trends showing continued improvement, the holiday surges behind us, and the increasing speed of vaccinations, we are now able to take this step,” Hogan said in the statement. “Marylanders must continue to remain cautious and vigilant in order to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe and healthy.”
The statewide limit of 50% indoor capacity at restaurants is still in place.
Hogan also said that another $30 million has been allocated to the state’s relief program for food service establishments, adding to $50 million announced in October. Restaurants have to apply through their local jurisdictions.
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