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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is looking to remove capacity limits on indoor and outdoor dining, along with other businesses and activities, on Friday, March 12 at 5 p.m. A number of health experts think it’s a bad idea. And whatever Maryland does impacts neighboring D.C. Maryland will be the first in the region to significantly roll back restrictions.
However, local jurisdictions in Maryland have the authority to keep restrictions in place, and officials are weighing whether to do so. Many say they were blindsided by the announcement.
Hogan cited recent improvements to health metrics when he announced easing restrictions on bars, restaurants, religious institutions, gyms, casinos, and more. Masking and social distancing will still be required for these businesses and establishments. Larger indoor and outdoor sites like concert venues and sporting arenas will have to keep cap capacity at 50 percent.
“Our case rate per 100,000 has dropped by more than 76 percent to 12.9,” he said on Tuesday. “Our positivity rate has declined by more than 64 percent to 3.4.” While Maryalnd has seen a significant decrease, cases are still higher than the summer peak. The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration, Robert Redfield, joined Hogan at his press conference.
“The time is right,” said Hogan. Some experts don’t agree with the governor.
“I worry about the dramatic steps taken,” Boris Lushniak, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, told the Post. “Public health, in general, is warning everybody that it’s not over. . . . The signal this gives is as if things have already turned the corner.”
The coronavirus variants could hobble the D.C. region’s recovery efforts, for example. Cases caused by variants have been confirmed in the District, Maryland, and Virginia.
Fox 5 reached out to neighboring counties who say they were not given details ahead of time. “We are reviewing what the governor announced. We don’t get an advance copy of his announcement and hear it at the same time as anyone else does,” said the public information office for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
At the start of the pandemic, regional leaders said they’d try and work in tandem with one another around coronavirus restrictions. The virus doesn’t listen to borders, and many Maryand and Virginia residents work in D.C. For example, 75 percent of D.C.’s health care workers live in neighboring states. A year into the pandemic, the cohesive approach has mostly fallen by the wayside.
The D.C. region has worked somewhat collaboratively on the vaccine rollout. Recently, Hogan—along with Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—asked the federal government to vaccinate federal workers like mass transit employees who live in their jurisdictions. However, the federal government denied the request.
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- The daily case rate is in the red, at Phase 0/1 levels, as is the mean test turnaround time. It takes an average of 4.6 days to get COVID-19 results. To see today’s coronavirus cases and more information, visit our coronavirus dashboard. [EOM]
- Report: D.C. region slow to build affordable housing. D.C. and Arlington County are closest to meeting targets. [DCist]
- Another report: D.C. police had another option on the night of June 1: They could have sent protesters home. According to protesters, they never gave a dispersal order. [ACLU]
- ICYMI: D.C. residents and workers can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment at vaccinate.dc.gov or by calling (855) 363-0333. The mayor is only encouraging eligible groups to do so. [WCP]
By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- D.C. isn’t collecting all the education data it should despite having federal funds to do so. [DCist]
- Teachers ask the D.C. Council for more support ahead of this year’s budget cycle. [WTOP]
- D.C. Auditor dings the lottery for insufficient standard operating procedures. [ODCA]
By Mitch Ryals (tips? email@example.com)
From his perch at El Techo in Shaw, restaurateur Louie Hankins has eyed the space […]
- Employees share stories about Sergio Ristorante Italiano, which closed after 37 years. [Post]
- The second gentleman visited Hook Hall to talk about restaurant relief. [Washingtonian]
- Restaurants are finally getting targeted aid from the federal government. [Post]
By Laura Hayes (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
During Lucy Dacus’ last show at 9:30 Club on Dec. 7, 2019, she started the […]
- The National Gallery of Art has announced three site-specific artworks for the East Building as it undergoes renovations. [NGA]
- The Capital Pool Checkers Association has spent four decades headquartered in Shaw. Now, it’s looking for a new location. [DCist]
- The Smithsonian’s collected a host of artifacts—an I.D. badge, a vaccine vial—related to the U.S.’s first known administration of a COVID-19 vaccine. [Washingtonian]
- D.C. native Sonya Clark’s Tatter, Bristle and Mend is open now at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. [Post]
- 27 entertainers talk about their last performances before coronavirus-related shutdowns. [Post]
By Emma Sarappo (tips? email@example.com)
- Natasha Cloud has re-signed for a multi-year deal with the Mystics. [Bullets Forever]
- Maryland senior Darryl Morsell has been named the Big Ten men’s basketball defensive player of the year. [247Sports]
- Registration for this year’s virtual Marine Corps Marathon will open today. If it becomes an in-person event, those who register will get first priority for in-person registration. [WTOP]
By Kelyn Soong (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)