Indoor dining returns again today in Prince George’s County for the first time since Dec, 16. The Maryland suburb follows loosened restrictions in the District, which resumed indoor dining last week, also at 25 percent capacity. Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks pointed to a declining Covid-19 positivity rate in a Monday press conference as her reason for lifting the ban. Outdoor dining has been allowed at reduced capacity all along.
Whether or not customers are allowed to dine indoors in the greater Washington area has varied greatly this winter across local jurisdictions. In DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the indoor dining ban, which initially came in response to climbing Covid-19 cases, due to heightened security concerns after the Capitol attacks. In Northern Virginia, indoor dining has remained at 50-percent capacity since June. But in Montgomery County, elected officials remain adamant that their indoor dining ban, which went into effect mid-December, continue with no current set expiration date.
Individual business owners and the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) have argued vocally against the bans in Prince George’s and Montgomery County. RAM sued the two counties, as well as Baltimore City, in hopes of lifting the bans, arguing that Maryland’s hospitality industry has lost $1.4 billion since the start of the pandemic, according to WTOP News. Judges in each jurisdiction upheld the restrictions.
Meanwhile Governor Larry Hogan recently announced that the statewide 10 PM curfew for bar and restaurant service will be lifted starting Monday, February 1.
“Montgomery County is now on an island all by themselves,” RAM president Marshall Weston told WTOP News.