County Executive Alsobrooks Announces Measured Reopenings in Response to Continued Decline in COVID-19 Metrics
Dear Prince Georgians:
Yesterday, I announced that we are expanding COVID-19 capacity limits for businesses and other establishments due to a continued and significant decline in the County’s positivity rate and other key COVID-19 metrics, and due to increasing vaccination rates in the County. These updated safety measures will take effect today, March 12, 2021, at 5:00 PM.
I want you to know that we made these decisions under the guidance and advice of public health officials, based on the data and science. As of March 6, the seven-day average positivity rate is 4.3%, down from over 7% a month ago. The County’s infection rate is sitting at 0.94 as of March 2.
In addition, the County’s average daily case rate as of March 6 is 15.7 per 100,000 residents. This is down from an average daily case rate of 40.9 over a month ago on January 20. Finally, hospital capacity is around 55% as of March 9. We continue to monitor and analyze COVID-19 data daily to make sure these trends hold and take appropriate actions as necessary.
I am also proud to say that our County Health Department’s vaccination capacity has increased significantly to about 15,000 per week, with five vaccination clinics across the County and three mobile vaccination units. Last week, the County Health Department set another weekly record, administering 11,425 vaccinations, 8,200 of which were first or single doses. When counting all vaccine providers, over 31,000 vaccinations were provided to County residents last week, another weekly record. Finally, over 100,000 residents have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, with over 50,000 residents fully vaccinated.
My first and most important responsibility will always be to protect the residents of Prince George’s County. As we have done since the beginning of this pandemic, we are listening to the science and the advice of our health experts. We have not forgotten that Prince George’s County was the hardest-hit jurisdiction in the State, and the terrible toll this virus has had on our community. We saw over the holidays how the trends can reverse, and how infections can begin to rise again. However, due to the decline in cases and our progress in delivering vaccines, our public health experts have advised me that we are now in a position to move forward cautiously.
Under the County’s updated Phase 2 guidelines, a number of businesses and other establishments will be able to reopen or expand current capacity limits, including:
- Restaurants: Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed at 50% of maximum capacity. Restaurants must ensure social distancing and mask-wearing is observed.
- Theaters: May reopen at 50% of maximum capacity.
- Gyms/Fitness Centers: May expand to 50% of maximum capacity. Face coverings must be worn over the nose and mouth when working out.
- Banquet Halls, Receptions & Meeting Rooms: May expand to 50% of maximum capacity, applicable to the specific room where the event will be held.
- Houses of Worship: Indoor services may expand to 50% of maximum capacity, with social distancing requirements in place. Outdoor services are allowed up to 50% maximum capacity of the outdoor area, with social distancing and access to hand washing or hand sanitizers in place. Masks must be worn.
- Personal Services: May expand to 50% of maximum capacity. These establishments must operate by appointment only.
- Retail: May expand to 50% of maximum capacity.
Businesses and other establishments must continue following all other safety guidelines, including the enforcement of wearing masks and social distancing. In addition, unless otherwise expressed in the Executive Order, indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 persons and outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 persons. A full list of updated guidelines, as well as a copy of the Executive Order, is available online at mypgc.us/reopen.
While we are not ready to open as far as the rest of the State at this point, we are pleased by the information the Health Department is seeing, and our metrics tell us that we can safely do more than we are currently doing. Because COVID-19 affected us so deeply, we will continue to be careful, and we will continue to follow the guidance of our Health Department to facilitate a safe reopening.
To help keep our County moving forward, I am asking every resident to please continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please follow social distancing guidelines, avoid unnecessary travel, wash your hands, and wear a mask in public. Also, when it is your turn, take the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We have made significant progress, and if we continue to work together, we can keep our friends and our families safe from COVID-19.
As you’ve heard me say many times before, COVID-19 will not have the final say. This has been a long ordeal for everyone, but we are getting closer to defeating this pandemic once and for all. If we all continue to work together and look out for one another, I am confident we will be able to safely continue moving forward over the coming months.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive