Maryland Gov. okays outdoor dining beginning Friday night

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that restaurants will be able to offer outdoor dining beginning at 5 p.m. on May 29.

The order includes outdoor openings for social organizations (VFWs, American Legions, etc.), youth sports, and activities, including public pools and movie theaters.

The mandates require social distancing policies, health screenings for employees, limiting the capacity for groups of no more than 10 people, and increased sanitation practices.

Neighboring Delaware will allow restaurants to open on June 1, with dine-in and outdoor spaces limited to 30 percent of capacity. Reservations are required. Communities pools opened for the Memorial Day weekend.

Hogan announced he is giving local leaders flexibility to impose more restrictions than the state. Localities cannot remove restrictions that the governor put in place. Maryland has varying rates of coronavirus.

The governor also asked community leaders to find innovative ways to accommodate restaurants and activity centers by opening parking lots and closing streets to expand available space and allow for increased social distancing opportunities.

“I am encouraged by this next step in completing Stage One of the Roadmap to Recovery and am completely on-board with Governor Hogan’s announcement,” said Cecil County, MD Executive Alan McCarthy.

“Allowing our restaurants and social organizations, as well as youth sports and outdoor activities, to begin opening is a tremendous step in the process to get our economy moving in the right direction. Again, I have no intention on placing any further restrictions on the citizens and businesses in Cecil County,” McCarthy said.

On May 15th, Hogan lifted the stay-at-home order and put into place a “Safer At Home” advisory to continue to limit the spread of the coronavirus in public places. At that time, Hogan ordered the gradual reopening of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, barber shops and hair salons with social distancing and occupancy limitations, and delegated power to county-level leadership, to make decisions regarding the timing of re-openings.

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