Montgomery County has had some of the strictest Covid dining restrictions in the region and beyond. Its indoor-dining ban lasted two months—three weeks longer than the one in DC. And when dining rooms were allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity on Valentine’s Day, patrons were restricted to 90 minute time limits.
Today, the Montgomery County Council voted to further loosen up the rules. Indoor dining capacity will expand to 50 percent beginning March 26. Bars and restaurants will also be able to serve alcohol after 10 PM, and restrictions on buffet service have been lifted.
The news follows governor Larry Hogan’s executive order on Tuesday, which allows restaurants to return to full capacity beginning at 5 PM today. Individual counties, however, can set their own rules, and Montgomery County has taken a more cautious approach. Beyond restaurants and bars, the county will also increase capacity for fitness centers, bowling alleys, museums, and more to 50 percent beginning March 26. Outdoor gatherings will expand to a maximum of 50 people, while indoor gatherings increase to 25.
Meanwhile, Prince George’s County expands indoor dining to 50 percent today, DC remains at 25 percent capacity, and Virginia has allowed half-full dining rooms all winter long.