Gov. Larry Hogan kicked off the first Maryland Restaurant Week by announcing that indoor dining capacity can increase from 50 to 75 percent starting at 5 p.m. Monday, with health protocols remaining in place.
“As we continue with the third and final stage of our recovery, I want to commend our state’s restaurant industry for their incredible resilience this year and for their continued commitment to the health and safety of Marylanders,” Hogan said Friday.
“To celebrate the first-ever Maryland Restaurant Week, I encourage Marylanders to support their favorite local businesses, whether you do so through delivery, curbside pickup, or by dining indoors or outside.”
While local jurisdictions have previously celebrated Restaurant Week, this is the first statewide observance. The Maryland Department of Tourism contributed $50,000 to support marketing efforts for the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality industries in Maryland have added 65,900 jobs, with 53,400 belonging to accommodation and food services, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Overall, the department said that Maryland has gained 183,200 jobs during the recovery.
The announcement for expanded in-person dining comes as Maryland saw small declines in the seven-day positivity rate and current hospitalizations Friday, even as the state reported 543 new COVID-19 infections.
The positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average of positive results as a percentage of all tests, has fallen for four consecutive days now, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
On Friday, it stood at 3.21 percent, down .12 percent from the previous day and .41 percent over the past four days.
On the other hand, in Frederick County, it ticked up slightly from 2.44 to 2.47 percent after three straight days of declines.
Meanwhile, current hospitalizations fell by six over the last 24 hours to 347. That includes 84 in intensive care, an increase of one from the previous day.
At Frederick Health Hospital, there were two COVID-19 patients and none in intensive care on Thursday.
The state is now reporting 119,062 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
In Frederick County, there are 3,851 confirmed cases, an increase of 17 from the previous day.
The death toll in Maryland due to the virus now stands at 3,724 after seven more were reported Friday.
There were no new deaths in Frederick County, as the number remained at 122 for a third consecutive day.
Since the pandemic began, a total of 2,324,252 tests have been administered in Maryland, 15,070 state residents have been hospitalized by the virus and 7,351 have been released from isolation.
Prince George’s County has the most confirmed cases in the state among 24 jurisdictions with 28,361. Montgomery County is second with 21,640 and is the only other Maryland jurisdiction with more than 20,000 confirmed cases.