ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Indoor dining will be allowed to resume in Maryland at 50 percent capacity beginning Friday at 5 p.m., Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday.
Restaurants will be required to follow strict public health requirements and CDC guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said at a news conference in Annapolis Wednesday evening.
The health department is issuing guidelines to restaurants on how to safely reopen, Deputy Secretary of Health Services Fran Phillips said. Among the steps are requiring customers and staff members to wear masks as much as possible, keeping no more than six people at a table unless they live together and keeping buffets and self-serve options closed.
Also able to open on Friday are outdoor amusement parks and rides, including mini-golf and go-kart tracks. Outdoor pools will be able to increase their capacities to 50 percent.
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"While we are continuing to battle this deadly virus, we're also fighting to protect and improve the health of those small businesses that have been suffering," Hogan said.
In addition, indoor gyms, studio fitness activities, casinos, arcades and malls will be able to reopen on June 19.
The governor called earlier reopening steps in parts of the state "a huge success."
Despite the changes, officials said just because businesses are able to reopen, people who don't feel comfortable dining out or shopping don't have to do so.
Hogan said he himself does not feel comfortable dining out, citing his age and status as a cancer survivor as putting him at higher risk.
Howard County announced Wednesday evening they would be following the governor's plan.
He also took aim at city leadership in Baltimore, saying it's "absolutely absurd that there are thousands of people gathering in the streets and yet a small business in Baltimore can't open their doors,"
Hogan said he may have a conversation with Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young to ask them to move forward with lifting some other restrictions. While most of the state had moved into the second phase of the Roadmap to Recovery plan, Baltimore remains in phase one.
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