On a near-perfect weather day for early November —sunny and in the 70s —diners at Sabor De Cuba on East Patrick Street in downtown Frederick were able to enjoy their meals and the pleasant conditions from their sidewalk tables Tuesday.

But this luxury isn't likely to last much longer, which concerns Maikel Gattorno, the restaurant's part-owner and chef.

"Once the cold weather starts, people don't go out as much," Gattorno said. "We are going to need the indoor capacity to be at least 50 percent, maybe 75 [to remain viable]."

On Tuesday evening, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) threw a wrench into those plans when he restricted restaurant capacity at Maryland's restaurants and bars to 50 percent in order to combat the long-predicted fall resurgence of the novel coronavirus.

Hogan had expanded capacity to 75 percent on Sept 18. County Executive Jan Gardner initially balked at the move, keeping Frederick County restaurant and bars at 50 percent capacity before raising it to 75 on Oct. 2.

Asked if he was worried the latest round of restrictions might knock him out of business, Gattorno replied, "Well, yeah. Another round of this [virus] could take anyone out."

Hogan felt like he had little choice, declaring at his evening press conference from the Governor's Reception Room at the State House in Annapolis that Maryland had crossed into another danger zone in the pandemic.

There were more than 1,000 COVID-19 infections reported statewide for a seventh consecutive day, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

With 1,338 new cases added, Maryland was now saddled with 156,709 confirmed COVID-19 infections. That includes 5,257 cases in Frederick County, which reported more than 40 cases (46) for a fourth consecutive day.

Sitting at an emptier-than-usual bar Tuesday night at JoJo's Restaurant & Tap House on East Patrick Street, Tony Caraballo, 30, of Frederick, said, "On a normal night, when it's 70 degrees in November, this place would be absolutely [hopping]."

Asked about the further restrictions imposed by Hogan on bars and restaurants, Caraballo, who owns Golden Spring Landscaping near Monrovia, said he wasn't sure how some would stay in business.

"I am not acting like I know what to do," he said. "But I can't see how this is healthy for the business community downtown."

Hospitalizations and the seven-day rolling positivity rate continued their upward trajectory Tuesday, reaching levels not seen since the middle of June.

There were 761 Maryland residents hospitalized by COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 176 in intensive care. 

The state reported 12 more virus-related deaths, bringing the overall number to 4,084. The death toll in Frederick County remained unchanged at 132.

At Frederick Health Hospital, there were 18 coronavirus patients being treated, including one in intensive care.

Meanwhile, the positivity rate stood at 5.24 percent in the state and 4.42 percent in Frederick County.

It's a dramatic increase over the last month. On Oct. 11, the positivity rate was 2.76 percent in the county and 2.12 percent in the county.

"We cannot afford to ignore these trends and patterns," Hogan said. "Too many residents and businesses have COVID fatigue. Sadly, as a result, the virus has returned to the state in a big way."

Hogan warned Maryland residents about the dangers of gathering in groups of 25 or more and traveling to other parts of the country with dramatically rising coronavirus case numbers. 

He said all residents that have traveled to heavily infected areas should get tested and isolate themselves.

"This must be an all-hands-on-deck effort," he said.


Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Frederick County restaurants were already operating at 50 percent capacity in the lead-up to Gov. Larry Hogan's announcement Tuesday. Frederick restaurants had been operating at 75 percent capacity since early October, according to county officials.

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(35) comments


Wear you darn mask! We can help turn the tide if more than 90 percent of us wore a mask, physical distanced and worked remotely to the extent reasonable. The virus does not care about your political party!


I’m so sorry for all being financially devastated by this terrible disease, and I urge all who are able to continue to patronize your favorite restaurant and do carry out two or three times a week.


Not new. Just going back to what we had before because people CAN'T LISTEN!


I LISTENED!......I listened when Biden called Trump xenophobic for restricting travel from China. I listened In late February Pelosi was inviting everyone to Chinatown for a hug and kiss festival. I listened when Biden said not to panic. I listened when on 60 Minutes Dr. Fauci told us:

"Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks," Fauci said during the interview. "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask."

(Sidenote for Hayduke2 - yes, still with the Pelosi and Fauci comments. Because of their comments, I went ahead with some already scheduled international travel and by the end of March I found myself stuck in a third world country when tour operators ceased and airlines stopped flying.)



We need to come together to address this health crisis. Regardless what you think about either political party, the state and the country are not in a good place with COVID. Guidance changed over time because knowledge changed over time- it doesn't mean all guidance is wrong. The first cases in Maryland were from groups traveling from Egypt- so the trump admin China ban didn't help Maryland. Airports had lax screening, etc. A virus doesn't know borders- it was already here when travel restrictions hit. That's in the past- we can't keep litigating it. We need to come together to figure out this health crisis NOW. Hospitalizations nationwide are higher than any other point in the pandemic. Vaccine distribution requires super cold refrigeration and two doses- complicating deployment. We need to follow the guidance of mask wearing, staying physically distant, and washing hands. Those are the tools we have, and if we use them, we can keep the cases and hospitalizations lower until the vaccine is distributed. These mitigation measures work, Maryland crushed the first wave by following the guidance earlier in the year. Now people are getting complacent and cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are trending upwards. Have some compassion for your neighbors who may be at high risk- you don't know who is at high risk around you. We have to work together to keep our communities safer.








OMG Bosco, I am impatient with you because we all lived through this just months ago, yet you and your boys seem to have forgotten it. I just found a link to Fauci explaining the changes in mask recommendations, since you all don't remember it and refuse to take my word for it, maybe this will help you. https://www.thestreet.com/video/dr-fauci-masks-changing-directive-coronavirus


Bosco, you never listened to Nancy Pelosi in your life. Please stop lying like this. You look even more ridiculous than usual.


And you would know that how, sevenstones?

Regardless of what you think, I WAS listening to Pelosi in Chinatown as well as Fauci.

You look ridiculous trying to negate what I heard.



It's bad enough when someone like sevenstones claims, without any proof whatsoever, that you've never listened to Pelosi, but to then call you a liar about it takes far more gall. I guess she didn't get Biden's message about the country healing now, huh bosco?


I remember when Pelosi said that. It was when there were virtually no cases in San Francisco. Remember it was the east coast that got the pandemic first. She was probably wrong to recommend travel to Chinatown or anywhere else, but that is not comparable in magnitude to mistakes Trump made, especially given the information he had that Nancy may not have had.


CD......and now, all of the Coronvirus experts are here to throw poo, change the timeline, and tell me what I heard or didn't hear from the politicians and the scientists, and call me a liar. That's so precious that their hindsight is 20-20 when back in February and March they were just as clueless as everyone else - including the scientists.

BTW, when I finally made it back home at the end March, there was a public service postcard from the CDC and Coronavirus.gov waiting for me with other accumulated mail. Dated March 16, 2020, it's a list of Coronavirus Guidlines for America. NOWHERE on the card does it mention masks. Mainly wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow. I still have it on my bulletin board.

So I guess sevenstones, threecents, and shiftless must have had some sort of secret insights into dealing with the virus back in February that they failed to share with the rest of us. They look even more ridiculous than usual.



Bosco, Why do you insist on playing the fool? How many times do you have to be reminded that when Fauci recommended not wearing masks, he was talking about N95s and surgical masks and he said that because of the extreme shortage of masks for front line workers. That was before anyone in the country thought about wearing cloth masks. If you don't remember all that, it is because YOU DID NOT LISTEN!





Reek only hears what he wants to hear. He is like one of those broken microphones at the drive through. When you order a Big Mac and Fries and they give you a milkshake.


bosco; are you just tossing bombs or are you completely unaware of how many people arrived from China after the "ban"? Because, of course, the "ban" was only for CHINESE people and not Americans or others who were there. Perhaps you do not realize that the virus does not care about your citizenship and will travel with you on the plane whether you are carrying a Chinese or an American passport. So yes, the "ban" was xenophobic and ineffective.


When they told us not to wear masks I laughed. I am not a scientist but I have common sense. I knew immediately that was a lie. They said the virus was too small and would go through the mask. I am smart enough to to know that masks do no not prevent transmission but reduce it.



There is a term called 'Defense In Depth'. Look it up.

Masks are part of a 'Defense In Depth' strategy to combat the spread of the virus.



All you got is bad faith arguments don't you?




Why not close private homes? Isn't that how most covid is spread, family events.

Follow the silence!

Greg F

Obviously mick, you aren’t listening to what’s being said by science. Restaurants and bars are the major cause...and LARGE family gatherings and religious services are up there...not visiting at home with those who are in your bubble of familiarity and like protection behavior.






Micky, Doesn’t state health regulations limit home gatherings to 10? True, it’s hard to police.

What? No comment?


Micky, Family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas will be disastrous for the spread, but I don't think Hogan can ban them. I will be Zooming for the holidays. How about you?



Reading what micky writes here I can't help but wonder if he is zooming all the time.


Schools should not even be open for

I’m classroom instruction.


Wait; I thought Trump and his minions said this would disappear after the election?



You didn't get the Soros memo? We have to stop talking about it right now. It should have been attached to the check for voting for Biden.

Unfortunately, I think the country is going to have to go down into full lockdown again.

I turned on SNL only to see the end of the Notre Dame game and was aghast at what I saw. I hope IN is prepared for what is to come.

Greg F

Yep...it’s as bad as Flacco tossing a 50 yard bomb to toss away a game last night.

PurplePickles aka L&M


SNL rocked in so many ways.... You’re welcome ...lol


Yes, Trump said that during the last debate. He also warned again against testing, which he claims is causing inflated numbers of cases - ignoring the increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

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