Maryland Enters Phase 3 of Reopening Friday as Coronavirus Case Numbers Climb

Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues can open in Maryland under phase three, but counties and cities can set their own pace for reopening, and many have decided to wait, including Montgomery and Prince George's

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Maryland as a whole enters phase three of reopening at 5 p.m. Friday, allowing movie theaters and outdoor performance venues to open their doors for the first time in months.

But the progress into phase three comes as the state grapples with a new uptick in coronavirus cases. From Sept. 1 to 4, the average number of new cases diagnosed daily across the state has grown.

Gov. Larry Hogan says that all businesses will be able to reopen under phase three.

Capacity at cinemas and other theaters is capped at 50% or 100 people per auditorium, whichever is less, and everyone must wear a mask, per state guidance.


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Outdoor venues can put on live performances or show outdoor movies again. Capacity is limited to 50% or 250 people.

Houses of worship and retailers can increase their capacity to 75%.

Counties and cities can set their own pace for reopening and many have decided to wait, including Montgomery and Prince George's. In both counties, the number of new diagnoses has been declining, but some of their own goals have not been met yet.

Here’s what we know so far about Maryland counties in our area:

Anne Arundel County: County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Thursday that Anne Arundel County would not move into phase three, citing the increase in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate over the past two weeks.

Calvert County: The board of commissioners voted to begin phase three. 

Charles County: The county’s commissioners voted unanimously to reopen businesses, expanding capacity for both indoor and outdoor venues. Its one movie theater can open if they supply the county health director with their plan for opening, President Reuben Collins II said. 

Howard County: The county will move forward into phase three, County Executive Calvin Ball said.

Montgomery County: County Executive Marc Elrich said Tuesday that he doesn’t think the county is ready to fully embrace phase three. 

"I won't say we're going to move into phase three,” he said. “We will continue to likely modify our phase two."

The county will allow some changes to go into effect, starting Friday. Effectively, they'll allow businesses to offer "dinner and a show" experiences.

Under the new rule, outdoor and indoor restaurants and similar venues can host live performances. However, guests can't dance or congregate. Masks must be worn unless you're eating or drinking, and you must be seated to eat or drink.

“We have made progress in addressing the pandemic, but the crisis is not over,” County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said in a statement.

Prince George's County: The county will not move on to phase three, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in an update Thursday morning. 

“What I can tell you about Prince George’s County is we are not there yet,” she said, citing the county’s progress but continued struggle with the virus. 

Throughout Maryland, masks are still required in most public or common areas for most people.

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