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Maryland to lift remaining COVID capacity restrictions

Maryland to lift remaining COVID capacity restrictions
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday he will lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, entertainment and sporting venues this coming Saturday.

In addition, Hogan said he anticipates lifting the state's indoor mask mandate when at least 70 percent of residents have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, which he expects to occur by Memorial Day weekend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 65 percent of residents have gotten at least one dose so far.

"Effectively as of Saturday, every business in Maryland will be able to open at 100 percent without restrictions," Hogan said during a news conference.

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The state lifted capacity restrictions for outdoor dining on May 1, but indoor dining had been limited to 50 percent for the past two months. Restaurants will also no longer need to abide by a six-foot distancing requirement between tables.

Virginia and the District of Columbia have also announced looser restrictions, but Hogan's announcement would make Maryland the first state in the Washington area to completely drop all capacity restrictions and a mask mandate.

D.C. will lift most capacity and other coronavirus restrictions on businesses May 21, Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserWhite House to host large outdoor gathering for July 4 DC board votes to lift last COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants Hogan announces Maryland will close mass vaccination sites, shift to local clinics MORE (D) announced earlier this week, following numerous pleas for clarity from local businesses and residents.

Capacity limits for bars, nightclubs, large sports arenas and entertainment venues will be increased to 50 percent on that date and then lifted June 11.

"We believe we are taking the prudent steps," Hogan said, noting that the state's number of daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths. "We're not taking it today because we want to continue making a little more progress."

However, local counties in Maryland are allowed to keep stricter rules in place.