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Maryland increases indoor dining capacity to launch 1st statewide Restaurant Week

Starting Monday at 5 p.m., capacity for indoor operations at restaurants may increase from 50 to 75 percent.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — With Maryland's first-ever statewide restaurant week kicking off Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan relaxed some COVID restrictions on restaurants. In a new Executive Order, the governor announced that beginning Monday, Sept. 21 at 5 p.m., restaurants can increase indoor dining capacity from 50% to 75%. 

As with past easing of restrictions, Hogan emphasized that local jurisdictions have the power to choose whether or not they will follow the statewide guidance. 

"Restaurants in Maryland are pleased that the governor has heard their concerns and has increased indoor dining capacity to 75%," Marshall Weston, president of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said. "The weather will soon eliminate outdoor dining as a viable option and the increase of indoor capacity will help make up for that loss. We encourage all counties to follow the governor’s Executive Order and not delay implementation." 

RELATED: Maryland will purchase 250,000 rapid COVID-19 tests that deliver results within minutes

Certain restrictions still apply to restaurants under the state's phase 3 of reopening, including: 

  1. Not serving food in a buffet format
  2. Not serving customers who are not seated
  3. Cleaning and disinfecting each table between each seating in accordance with CDC and MDH guidelines, with cleaning products that meet the criteria of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use against COVID-19

Hogan visited McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar in Annapolis Friday to formally recognize the launch of Maryland's first Restaurant Week, which runs Sept. 18-27. 

"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. “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.”

To aid restaurants in their pandemic recovery, there are no entry fees or course requirements for the restaurants participating, as they can choose to offer special menus or discounts. 

Maryland's leisure and hospitality industries experienced the most job growth in August with an increase of 5,800 jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In total, the state has gained 183,200 jobs during the recovery.

RELATED: Montgomery County investigating COVID-19 outbreaks at nonpublic schools

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