Bars and restaurants in Maryland will be able to remain open past 10 p.m starting Monday, Feb. 1, the governor announced Thursday, citing progress in the fight against COVID-19.
Restaurants will still have to operate at no more than 50% indoor capacity.
The tightened restrictions on bar and restaurant hours were put into effect on Nov. 20, 2020 because of surging cases and hospitalizations in the state.
“With our data trends showing continued improvement, the holiday surges behind us, and the increasing speed of vaccinations, we are now able to take this step,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement.
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Montgomery County said its 10 p.m. closing time will remain in effect.
The move to loosen dining restrictions comes on the heels of several weeks of improving COVID-19 metrics.
Hospitalizations have dropped by 11% in the past two weeks and the state's estimated transmission rate has remained below 1.0 since late December, officials say.
The statewide positivity rate has dropped by 34.7% to the lowest reported rate since Nov. 13.
According to Hogan's statement, other statewide restrictions including 50% capacity limits on retail businesses, religious institutions and gyms will remain in place.
“Marylanders must continue to remain cautious and vigilant in order to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe and healthy," he said.