Hogan gives green light for restaurants to resume indoor dining Friday

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a COVID-19 press conference in Annapolis, Maryland, on March 12, 2020. (Matt McDonald/The Diamondback)

Indoor dining at restaurants and outdoor amusement facilities may resume activities as soon as Friday at 5 p.m., Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a press conference Wednesday evening — the latest in a series of steps to reopen the state’s economy.

Along with other health requirements, restaurants will be limited to 50 percent capacity with table service only, Hogan said. In addition to outdoor “amusements” and rides, mini golf and go-kart tracks will also be able to reopen on Friday.

Then, at 5 p.m. on June 19, indoor gyms and studio fitness activities, such as martial arts and dance, will be given the greenlight to reopen, Hogan said. Casinos, arcades and malls may also begin to resume activities with strict safety procedures, he said.

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With these reopenings, Maryland remains in phase two of its plan to restart the economy. Prince George’s County — one of the last counties in the state to begin reopening — remains in phase one of its reopening plan. There, restaurants are not yet allowed to resume indoor dining.

The governor also touched on the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Minnesota black man, at the conference, saying that it “has shed new light on old wounds that have not healed, and serious problems that need to be confronted and addressed.”

Maryland Gov. Hogan announces state will enter phase two of reopening plan on Friday

Over the past two weeks, protesters have taken to the streets across the world, calling for major reforms to policing systems and condemning systemic racism. At the press conference, Hogan encouraged those who have participated in demonstrations to get tested for COVID-19 — with protesters often packed into tight quarters, they face an increased risk of exposure to the virus, he said.

However, Hogan still touted Maryland’s steady improvements with regard to a key metric for gauging the virus’s spread. Over the past week, the state has experienced the largest decline in the country in the percent of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, he said — even though it still sits at number eight for the number of positive tests.

“While I cannot promise you that we will fully recover from all these problems quickly, I will tell you that together we have faced and overcome daunting challenges before. And that we will get through these difficult times together,” he added.

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