Jurisdictions Across the Region Edge Closer to a Full Reopening

With new COVID cases reaching lows across the region that haven’t been seen since the beginning of last March, and more than half of all adults now fully vaccinated across the country, leaders across the D.C. region have quickly rolled back nearly all COVID-related restrictions on retailers and entertainment venues.

On Friday, Montgomery County, which has long had one of the slowest re-openings in the region, will essentially end all COVID restrictions. That includes any form of a mask mandate, for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated residents, employees, and patrons of businesses, though businesses can still require masks for both their workers and customers. The county will join almost all of the rest of the state in following Maryland Department of Health guidance, which has essentially removed any capacity limits or enforceable mask requirements.

As of now, Prince George’s County still has a mask requirement for all patrons of indoor businesses and certain large outdoor entertainment venues, but it has lifted all capacity limits on retailers. To that end, the county did just announce this week that all sporting events at the University of Maryland will be able to operate this fall at full capacity.

Last week, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted nearly all capacity limits on retailers, restaurants, and venues, except for certain large entertainment spaces like the sports arenas and some concert halls. Venues like Capital One Arena will be able to open at 100 percent capacity starting June 11. Masks are still required indoors for those who are not fully vaccinated, but the order lacks any significant enforcement mechanisms unless businesses themselves continue to require their use.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID safety restrictions will come to an end this Friday, per Executive Order 79. Employees of public-facing businesses who are not fully vaccinated are still required to wear masks, and businesses can still impose mask requirements on patrons, but essentially all capacity limits and distancing requirements will be eliminated.

For at least the near future, masks will continue to be required across the region in most government buildings, on public transit, in most schools, and in communal living areas like senior homes and prisons, along with health care settings.

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