Politics

Gov. Larry Hogan Announces Maryland Lifting Some Restrictions On Businesses, Mask Mandate Still In Effect

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Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced Tuesday the state would lift some of its pandemic-related restrictions, but would leave the state’s mask mandate in place.

“Over the last few weeks, as we marked one year of grappling with this deadly virus, many of us have been recalling our ‘lasts’ – the last time we ate inside a restaurant, the last time we celebrated a big occasion with family and friends, the last time we went to a ballgame, the last time we took a family vacation,” Hogan said during a press conference.

“In the weeks and months ahead, with continued vigilance, together we will instead begin to mark new firsts,” the governor said about the future of easing additional restrictions.

Starting Friday, capacity limits on indoor and outdoor dining will be lifted. Restaurants and bars must still have distanced service only. (RELATED: CDC Study Finds 78% Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Were People Overweight Or Obese)

Retail stores, religious facilities, gyms, bowling alleys and other indoor recreational establishments will also have their capacity limits lifted.

Larger indoor and outdoor venues, like conference centers, wedding venues, concert arenas, theaters and others will have their capacity limits increased to 50%. Masking and social distancing will still remain in effect.

The average daily new coronavirus cases in the state have increased by 1% this week compared to the average two weeks earlier, according to data from The New York Times.

Average deaths have drastically declined, falling 45% during the same time frame, according to the the Times. Additionally, the rate of vaccination has steadily increased, opening the door for easing restrictions. Maryland averages 36,258 shots of vaccine per day, according to the governor.

“All of our vaccine progress along with all of our sustained positive improvements … have enabled us to continue to … take significant steps to further ease more of the [restrictions],” the governor said.

Other states who have lifted restrictions include Texas, Mississippi, Connecticut, Arizona and West Virginia.