BALTIMORE (WJZ) — This time last year, Maryland, along with the rest of the country, shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the first time since then, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday the removal of the state’s capacity restrictions at places like restaurants and retail shops.

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It’s a hopeful sign toward recovery for businesses across the state.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

“It’s really exciting because that means everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Shannon Maddox, Manager at Mt. Washington Tavern, said. “We’re moving forward.”

Bars and restaurants will still be limited to distanced and seated service only.

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The final decision will be left to local jurisdictions.

“Certainly we’re thrilled that things feel like they’re getting back to normal,” Angela Tandy, Owner of Sassanova, said.

Gov. Hogan said the mask mandate is still in effect.

Bar and restaurant staff said with St. Patrick’s Day weekend around the corner and the weather warming up, they’re looking forward to more diners to help make up for the loss of sales.

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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.