Maryland to lift capacity limits for indoor, outdoor dining on Friday

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a press conference on Tuesday that capacity limits for indoor and outdoor dining will be lifted beginning Friday, March 12.

Restaurants and bars will still be limited to seated and distanced service only.

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Capacity limits will also be lifted for:

- Retail businesses

- Religious facilities

- Gyms and other fitness centers

- Personal services 

- Indoor recreational establishments (casinos, bingo halls, skating rinks, bowling alleys, etc.)

Also on March 12, large outdoor and indoor venues will expand to 50% capacity. This includes conference and wedding venues, concert venues, conventions, theaters and sporting venues. 

"Let’s continue to be smart," Gov. Hogan said. "We can’t afford to undo all the tremendous progress that we have made together."

READ MORE: Maryland lays out plan to address vaccine equity in the state

Gov. Hogan also announced that Maryland's case rate per 100,000 has dropped by more than 76% and the state's positivity rate for COVID-19 has declined by more than 64%.

Hospitalizations have dropped 59%, from nearly 2,000 to 792, the lowest level since November 10.

Gov. Hogan says Maryland has completed more than 1.6 million vaccinations and more than half of Marylanders over 65 have been vaccinated. 

READ MORE: Montgomery County may open its own mass vaccination without Maryland's support, county exec says

Masks and social distancing protocols will remain in place for all indoor and outdoor businesses. The statewide mask mandate remains in effect.

Quarantine requirements and other restrictions related to out-of-state travel will also be lifted. However, the Maryland Department of Health continues to encourage all Marylanders to get tested upon return to the state after periods of travel.