TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Indoor dining will be allowed to resume in Maryland at 50 percent capacity beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

Restaurants like Slice in Towson are excited about the possibility of being able to serve customers inside for the first time in more than 11 weeks.

“It was wonderful. We were hoping for this last week, but we understand that it has to be done at the right time,” Paul Rizas, Owner of Slice, said.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Gov. Hogan said restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity with social distancing and other health guidelines this Friday. He also added outdoor amusements and rides to that list.

Indoor gyms and fitness studios will be able to reopen a week from Friday, but individual jurisdictions still have the final say.

So far, Cecil, Harford and Howard counties said they’re moving forward with the new phase.

“We’ve made the decision to continue to align with the governor’s reopening plan as he announced this evening,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.

Gov. Hogan said the state’s promising key numbers — with many positivity rates in the single digits — have paved the way for this expanded Phase Two reopening.

“Any progression to where we used to be is a good progression,” Andrew Womack, of Baltimore City, said.

“I’m kind of tired of running. I just got done running and I want to get back in the gym, so it’s going to be exciting,” Chris Saba, of Baltimore, said.

This coming weekend, Baltimore County has pledged to close down Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson for businesses to offer even more outdoor space. It’s called Seats on The Streets.

Rizas said he’s now beginning to reorganize the interior of his restaurant to accommodate some patrons inside.

“You know this whole thing has been about adapting and modifying and what path to take and how to make it work,” Rizas said.

We’re still waiting to hear from Baltimore City and County about whether or not it will adopt this next phase of recommendations.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff

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