Larry Hogan

Tighter COVID-19 Restrictions in Maryland Take Effect Friday

Bars, restaurants and nursing homes are affected

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With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surging in the state, Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants on Friday. 

Bars and restaurants must end all dine-in service after 10 p.m. but takeout and delivery service will still be allowed. Retail businesses, religious institutions and gyms must limit capacity to 50%, in a rollback to phase two levels.

The new restrictions took effect at 5 p.m. 

Fans will not be allowed at sports stadiums or race tracks.

The state also stepped up health precautions at hospitals and nursing homes. Hospital visitations are prohibited, with exceptions for children’s guardians, obstetrics patients and people with disabilities. 

Nursing home staff must get tested for COVID-19 twice a week. Residents must get tested weekly. Indoor visitation at nursing homes will be limited to compassionate care, and visitors must have proof of a negative covid test result. 

Hospitals that are at their capacity limit or nearing it may transfer patients to hospitals that can provide the necessary care. Additionally, hospitals are ordered to avoid election procedures that are likely to require prolonged ventilation, ICU admission or skilled nursing care. 

Hospital and nursing home visits will be extremely limited, and retail capacity limits will be reduced to 50 percent. Cory Smith reports.

Maryland has seen a troubling resurgence of the virus over the past month. Between 1,000 and 2,000 Marylanders have been diagnosed with the virus each day for more than two weeks.

A total of 1,192 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Maryland on Thursday. That's two-and-a-half times higher than the number of coronavirus hospitalizations one month ago.

"This virus does not recognize state borders so now we're seeing incredible spikes like we haven't seen since March and April," Hogan said Friday on MSNBC.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the new restrictions at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The coronavirus is real and it’s killing a growing number of people in Maryland and nationwide. 

“It’s not fake news. It’s not the flu. It’s not going to just disappear,” the governor said. He also encouraged mask-wearing.

Hogan already reduced indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50% capacity earlier this month. 

Individual jurisdictions announced their own tighter restrictions earlier this month, including in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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