ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today issued an emergency order stating that, as of Monday, February 1, bars and restaurants will no longer be required to close at 10 p.m. In recent weeks, the state has distributed an additional $80 million in economic assistance to Maryland hotels and hospitality businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Today’s actions follow several weeks of improving COVID-19 metrics:
- The statewide positivity rate has dropped by 34.7%, and is now the lowest reported since November 13.
- The statewide case rate has dropped by 37.1%.
- Hospitalizations have dropped by 16.2%, including a decrease of 11% in the past 14 days.
- Today’s report of 2,190 new cases is 42.2% lower than the new case high reported on December 4. The average number of new daily cases declined by 35% over the past 14 days.
- The state’s estimated transmission rate has remained below 1.0 since December 27.
“With our data trends showing continued improvement, the holiday surges behind us, and the increasing speed of vaccinations, we are now able to take this step,” said Governor Hogan. “Marylanders must continue to remain cautious and vigilant in order to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe and healthy.”
Ongoing Relief for Bars and Restaurants, Hotels and Hospitality Businesses
An additional $30 million has been allocated to the state’s relief program for foodservice establishments, adding to $50 million announced in October. To take advantage of these grants, restaurants must apply through their local jurisdiction. Funding can be used for rent, payroll, and job training; equipment purchases to expand outdoor dining (including tents, heaters, and carts); and more. Final criteria and guidelines are decided by the individual jurisdictions.
A new grant opportunity is available for hotels and hospitality businesses across Maryland. Similar to the previously announced restaurant grant program, the state is distributing a total of $50 million across each county and Baltimore City based on the percentage of total sales tax revenue generated by the accommodations to the state. Hotels interested in this new grant must apply through their local jurisdiction, which will launch their own relief programs. This direct relief can be used for payroll expenses, rent, and utilities.
In addition to the more than $700 million in emergency economic relief already provided by the state, Governor Hogan has introduced the RELIEF Act of 2021, which provides direct stimulus and tax relief to Marylanders and small businesses. In total, the governor has committed $1.7 billion in COVID-19 relief.
The statewide order for 50% indoor capacity at restaurants will remain in place.