Howard County, Maryland, has become the latest jurisdiction in the area to tighten limits on gatherings in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases.
County Executive Calvin Ball said Monday that gatherings such as weddings, recreational sports, associations and clubs are limited to 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors, starting Friday at 5 p.m.
Retail stores, offices, food-service establishments, religious gatherings, indoor theaters and outdoor entertainment venues are excluded from the order.
The move comes after the county’s cases per 100,000 residents went to 26.7, up from 19.1 last week, and the test positivity rate – a key measure in determining how reliable the other numbers are – is at 5.12%.
“At this point there is widespread community transmission of COVID-19, and every individual action we take is vital to controlling and limiting the further spread of this virus,” Ball said in a statement.
“The alarms are sounding, and if you haven’t already, rethink any plans to host or attend a large gathering with family and friends. Especially with the upcoming holidays, it is critical for all our residents to understand the importance of mitigation measures like wearing a mask, keeping their distance, and washing their hands frequently.”
Howard County joins Montgomery County and D.C. in reimposing some restrictions as cases of the virus have shot back up in the area and nationwide. Maryland has also imposed new statewide restrictions.