ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan said effective Wednesday at 5 p.m., indoor dining at restaurants and bars will go back to 50% capacity, citing the seven-day surge in coronavirus cases in Maryland.

The governor said the Maryland Department of Health has also issued a new public health advisory strongly warning against indoor gatherings of 25 people or more. He said those who violate the new restrictions could face fines and/or jail time.

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The state is also implementing mandatory telework for all state employees who are approved to do so, except for essential, direct, public-facing services and essential personnel.

In addition, the health department will issue an emergency order to activate alternative care site capacity and provide staffing support and clinical care to nursing homes.

Speaking of nursing homes, they are also encouraging visitors to get tested before seeing loved ones. They also say staff should avoid gatherings and nursing homes should stock up on PPE headed into winter.

Hogan said since he spoke last week, the state is seeing widespread community transmission. Maryland’s case rate has risen to 19.8 per 100,000, a 36% increase in the past week. The case rates are above 10 per 100,000 in 18 jurisdictions and above 20 per 100,000 in seven jurisdictions.

Baltimore City is one of the 11 jurisdictions that have surpassed the 5% positivity rate benchmark.

The state’s contact tracing data continues to indicate that family gatherings are the most common activity among those recently infected. There is also a marked increase in the number of people infected who recently dined indoors at a restaurant and among those who have traveled out of state.

He added too many businesses are failing to comply with state regulations and orders.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

Before announcing new restrictions, he warned that the virus has returned to Maryland in a big way.

“We cannot afford to ignore these trends and patterns,” he said, adding warning lights that while warning signs were starting to blink on the dashboard last week– the state has now crossed over into the danger zone.

“We do not want to take actions that will further burden our struggling small businesses or actions to shut down our economy. Our primary goals continue to be keeping our hospitals from overflowing and stopping more Marylanders from dying,” he said.

Local jurisdictions have already begun to make adjustments on restrictions, including Baltimore City and Montgomery County.

HOGAN NEWS CONFERENCE UPDATES:

The main thing to know for Baltimore: masks are now required in all outdoor spaces, regardless of social distancing, and inside any business or establishment; and Baltimore is moving back to Phase 1, which means 25% capacity inside businesses and restaurants.

There are two new items for the city. Indoor dining will close at 11 p.m. rather than the previously stated 10 p.m. and taverns, that normally operate on more alcohol than food sales, can sell prepackaged goods to go.

Montgomery County is heading back to 25% capacity for various businesses as well.

He commended the local jurisdictions for making an effort to jump ahead of the surge, but also urged counties to step up the pace of their relief efforts.

The deadline for state and local governments to spend CARES Act funding is December 30.

WATCH: Tuesday’s Full News Conference

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.

Comments (4)
  1. Slinky says:

    Larry can’t resist congratulating “President Elect” Biden. His chickens aren’t exactly hatched yet. What a worm.

  2. Jim says:

    And the hell with business and the economy so the dictator rules

  3. We cannot ignore COVID or wish it away. Once it has been effectively dealt with (which Trump failed miserably at) then the economy can restart and move forward. Some businesses have suffered and some have benefitted. The economy cannot do anything w/o COVID gone. You do not start rebuilding before the hurricane is over. During the brief time things went back to pseudo normal, business was still way off because many people were too concerned w/ COVID to patronize certain businesses again. Proactive businesses that immediately adjusted and started offering online sales, contact free curbside pick up purchases, carry out food delivery and so on took a much smaller hit. Our favorite restaurant did not offer carry out before, they do now, bring it right out to the car and some unemployed locals started a delivery business too as we are beyond the usual delivery service’s areas. They hired everyone back & more, they have reinvented themselves and are doing well. They plan to still offer carry out when dine in resumes.

    Look at it this way, last winter who in MD made a lot of money clearing snow? Did the ski resorts do well? Nature dictates certain things and politicians cannot change that. COVID is in charge until the doctors figure out how to effectively rid us of it. Trump ignoring it did not work. Calling it a hoax did not work. Reopening just makes things worse. As soon as we have a safe & effective vaccine and can get people vaccinated, the economy can restart, Online retailers will probably lose business & lay off workers as brick & mortars pick up & hire. Kids will be able to go back to school, altho NONE of the vaccines in development have been tested on kids yet, just adult volunteers. If the vaccine does not work on kids or is not safe for them, then we still have a problem.

    Be patient.

    Biden is the President Elect. There has been NO PROOF of any widespread fraud, cheating or election “stealing”. Votes received after the deadline postmarked by election day are legal. Votes from the military overseas or mailing in from where they are stationed to the state of legal residence are legal. If you are stationed in Oklahoma or go to college in Oregon but are a resident of Maryland, you vote absentee in Maryland. Not fraud at all. If any evidence existed Trump would be showing it to you by the truckload. He has shown you nothing but tweets and how his mouth runs, making baseless claims in his increasing mental illness. He is the one who tried to keep people from absentee ballots by limiting drop off sites in some states, trying to shorten deadlines & putting a major donor buddy in charge of the USPS to foul it up, The mail has gotten worse, we all know that. Trump got more in person votes because he TOLD HIS SUPPORTERS TO VOTE THAT WAY. Most of the mail ins are from Democrats as they know COVID is real. Many states do not start counting the mail ins until after the in persons are done. There are lots of mail ins, it takes time as they are getting it done right not fast. Trump lost, he just can’t deal with it. If the Dems had “stolen” the election they would have not lost seats in Congress and would have solidly taken over the Senate. Obviously in some states people voted Republican, but did not vote for Trump.

  4. Essie says:

    every restaurant in town could be giving away free food but I would not endanger my family by taking them to a place where people are not wearing masks-getting rid of covid is the key people are not going to patronize things that could kill them & their loved ones

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