By the numbers, no part of Maryland has been hit harder by the pandemic than Prince George’s County, where tens of thousands of cases overwhelmed health care systems and devastated families.
But falling cases and hospitalizations in Prince George’s County and throughout the state attributed to rising vaccination rates, county leaders are lifting the majority of restrictions imposed at the onset of the pandemic last spring.
Starting 5 p.m. Monday, all indoor and outdoor venues can resume normal operations, including the end of capacity restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, in a move that brings the county into alignment with much of Maryland.
But in a departure from the state, Prince George’s County will play it safe with indoor masks.
While Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the state-imposed indoor mask mandate on Friday following revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said the county’s own mandate will remain in place for now. It applies to all indoor venues, as well as crowded outdoor venues like concert venues and professional sporting events.
Local health officials said that will remain the case until health metrics show further improvement. The state mandate still extends to public transportation, and private businesses can still require customers and employees to wear a mask.
It took less than a week to see the county’s positivity rate drop from 4% to 3%, detailed in a bulletin to residents from Alsobrooks. The average daily case rate per 100,000 residents has been slashed as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The last month has also seen hospitalizations from the disease fall by over 50%.
About 360,000 residents — 40% of the county’s population — have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of Sunday, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health.