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Gov. Larry Hogan Lifts All COVID-19 Capacity Restrictions As Of Saturday, Indoor Mask Mandate Will Remain

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- For the first time in more than a year, this weekend will look a little different.

Gov. Larry Hogan is lifting all covid-19 capacity restrictions on all indoor and outdoor venues as of Saturday. The only restriction that will remain is wearing masks indoors at businesses.

"Effective this Saturday, we are lifting all restrictions on all outdoor entertainment, our sports venues -- including all ticketed events -- as well as all indoor entertainment venues, conventions and other businesses all restrictions will also be lifted on both indoor and outdoor dining," Gov. Larry Hogan said. "So, effectively as a Saturday every business in Maryland will be able to open it 100% with no restrictions."

Restaurants and bars will no longer have to socially distance tables and the barriers between booths can come down.

"I think it's really exciting because I think we've all kind of been burnt out from the pandemic," said Corinna Ridgeway.

Hogan made the announcement Wednesday afternoon after detailing how Maryland's coronavirus metrics have continued a downward trend as more residents get vaccinated.

"As of today, Maryland has administered more than 5.3 million COVID-19 vaccines," Hogan said. "We have vaccinated 86% of all Marylanders over the age of 65 and 65.4% of all Marylanders over 18."

"Maryland is vaccinating at a faster rate than the nation and faster than most other states, and we are well on our way to reaching 70% of all adults vaccinated by Memorial Day weekend," Hogan added.

Maryland's case rate per 100,000 has dropped by 64%. It's the lowest it's been since Sept. 30.

Hogan said the cruise terminal in Baltimore City will also be reopening and the CDC is working directly with the ports and the cruise industry to help them safely return to business.

The indoor mask mandate, which remains at businesses, can be lifted when 70% of adults receive at least one dose of the vaccine, the governor said.

Right now the state says just over 65% of Marylanders have gotten their first shot. In all, more than 5.3 million doses have been administered.

The goal is to get the state completely reopened by Memorial Day.

"President Biden set the goal of trying to get things back to normal by the Fourth of July," Hogan said. "Here in Maryland, our plan is to get everything back to normal by Memorial Day. We are making amazing progress towards that goal."

Baltimore City announced it would lift most capacity restrictions on Monday, May 17, with some exceptions for larger venues and social venues, which will remain at 50% capacity. Local cities and counties will have the final say about whether or not to move forward with this easing of restrictions. So far, Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford Counties say they're on board.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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