BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday Maryland will lift capacity limits for outdoor and indoor dining, as well as other establishments Friday at 5 p.m.
“Definitely momentum in the right direction,” Nick Liberatore, Co-Owner of Lib’s Grill, said.READ MORE: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott Urges Residents Not To Gather For St. Patrick's Day Parties
So far, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties have agreed to follow Gov. Hogan’s lead in lifting restrictions.
“I just think we’re going in the right direction,” Liberatore said. “Just mentally. To the staff, to the community, to the guests that come in, it’s just steps in the right direction.”
However, not every jurisdiction will follow the state. Baltimore City will keep its current restrictions, Mayor Brandon Scott announced.
The mayor’s office tells WJZ, “The numbers and public health indicators clearly do not warrant a reopening at the governor’s pace at this time. The mayor remains confident in Baltimore’s authority to maintain the common sense, local public health mandates currently in place as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”
City capacity restrictions will remain at 25 percent for indoor dining, gyms and retail. They stand at 50 percent for outdoor dining. The mayor addressed his decision in a press conference Friday.
“Our nation and our city are still very much in the midst of this pandemic,” Scott said at a press conference Friday.
In a statement to WJZ, the Restaurant Association of Maryland said:
“The Restaurant Association of Maryland is disappointed to learn that the City of Baltimore is not aligning with the state-issued guidelines to allow for restaurants and other businesses to lift capacity restrictions. We are reviewing the Mayor’s new Executive Order, consulting with local businesses, and considering legal options available to us.”
Tom Leonard, the General Manager of Pickles Pub, said he’s supportive of the mayor’s decision.READ MORE: Archdiocese Of Baltimore Says It's Not Lifting COVID Restrictions Despite Gov. Hogan's Announcement
“We also assume there’s nothing malicious,” he said. “Everyone is trying to act in everyone’s best interest. We’re just following the guidelines the city put forth. We hoped for more.”
Some residents said they’re against the governor’s decision.
“I think it’s a little early to raise restrictions,” Max Chong, of Towson, said.
Others said it’s time to reopen.
“People are starting to get vaccinated, numbers are coming down, we’re getting back to somewhat normalcy and that’s what the world needs right now,” Nick Giorgi, of Baltimore County, said.
Capacity limits for retail, religious facilities, fitness centers, casinos, personal services, indoor recreational establishments will also lift Friday.
Large outdoor and indoor venues may expand to 50% capacity. This includes conferences and wedding venues, concert venues, conventions, theaters, racing facilities and other outdoor entertainment and sporting venues- including Camden Yards and Pimlico.
The governor said masking, physical distancing and other safety measures will remain in place for all outdoor and indoor businesses and establishments.