Maryland follows New Jersey, which announced on Monday that its theaters could also reopen on Friday.
Theaters and other indoor entertainment venues in Maryland will be limited to 50% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less. Outdoor entertainment venues are allowed to have up to 250 people, or 50% capacity, whichever is less. The new order takes effect at 5 p.m. on Friday.
“The entertainment industry… put together very safe reopening plans,” Hogan said at a press conference. “All the states around us have done this already. We believe we’re able to move safely forward. We’re just slowly entering Phase 3. We’re going to see how that goes before we lift all the capacity restrictions.”
Hogan warned that the most common venues for transmission are family gatherings, house parties and outdoor events. But he cited a sustained decline in the state’s COVID-19 case rate in explaining the reopening.
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“We continue to be in much better shape than the nation, and better than most states across the country,” he said. “And while it is absolutely critical to remain vigilant as we battle this deadly virus, it is also important that we continue to fight to protect and improve our economy, and the health of our small business community, and our struggling Maryland families by continuing to push to safely reopen our economy and to get more people safely back to work.”
Theaters are still closed in Washington, D.C., as well as North Carolina, New York and New Mexico. Cinemas are also closed across much of California, including Los Angeles.