PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George's County will begin easing coronavirus restrictions on Friday, March 12, but the county won't follow Gov. Larry Hogan's guidance to reopen fully. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said the county will allow businesses to operate at 50% capacity going forward.
Alsobrooks said that due to the county's success in distributing vaccines, metrics used to gauge the county's pandemic response were trending in the right direction to begin lifting restrictions.
But she said the county would do so cautiously, since Prince George's County remains the jurisdiction hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland.
"We will not throw caution to the wind. I want to make that clear. It has been too devastating for us," Alsobrooks said.
Beginning Friday at 5 p.m. all businesses in the county can begin operating at 50% capacity. This includes movie theaters, gyms, indoor dining and places of worship. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 50 people, and indoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 20 people.
Alsobrooks stressed that even while restrictions are being eased, Prince Georgians should remain vigilant. Mask orders and social distancing guidance remains in effect in the county.
Alsobrooks said the county will not follow the guidance offered by Gov. Hogan, who said Maryland counties would be allowed to lift restrictions completely beginning March 12.
"Because COVID-19 affected us so deeply, our reopening will move at a different pace," Alsobrooks said.
WUSA9 reached out to nine Maryland counties in the region to see if they planned to follow the governor’s guidance on Friday. So far, only Washington County, St. Mary's County and Charles County have said they plan to follow Hogan's guidance and lift capacity restrictions on businesses.
Calvert, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties said they had yet to make a decision regarding Hogan’s announcement. Anne Arundel County never responded to WUSA9's request.