STATE TO LIFT CAPACITY RESTRICTIONS ON RESTAURANTS, RETAIL: Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes that Gov. Hogan announced Tuesday that due to declining coronavirus positivity rates and improved vaccine metrics the state will lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and bars and retail businesses by the end of this week.
- Statewide masking and social distancing mandates will remain in place, so most businesses won’t be able to fill to 100% capacity anyway, Colin Campbell of the Sun reports. And while Hogan wants to allow large venues — including Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Pimlico Race Course — to reopen at 50% capacity, he said local authorities in Baltimore and other areas can still impose more strict measures.
- State rules soon will allow bars and restaurants to welcome as many customers as they like, as long as patrons remain seated and socially distanced. People will not be permitted to crowd around the bar, Alex Mann and Bryn Stole report in the Sun.
- The executive order, scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. Friday, allows large venues such as concert halls and theaters to return to 50% capacity and lets adult day-care centers reopen. Quarantine requirements for out-of-state travel are also being lifted, Rebecca Tan and Erin Cox report for the Post.
- The food service industry will still have to abide by rules for indoor and outdoor dining that call for customers to be seated and spaced apart, Greg Swatek reports in the Frederick News Post.
- The governor and others are warning not to act as if the coronavirus has been defeated and acknowledged that the state is seeing a plateau that could turn into a fourth spike if residents let their guards down, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
MO CO MAY RAISE CHILD CARE CAPACITY: Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said Tuesday that the county might lift some restrictions on gathering limits and child care capacity if COVID-19 cases continue to decrease, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat writes.
OPINION: MARYLAND VAXX EFFORTS LEAVE VULNERABLE BEHIND: In a commentary for MarylandReporter.com, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown opines that “Maryland has fallen far short in our vaccination efforts. It is ranked 45 out of our 50 states in terms of the percentage of shots administered. … In addition to our disorganized and fragmented approach to vaccinations, Maryland has left our most vulnerable populations behind. Just 16% of vaccinations have gone to Black Marylanders, even though they make up 30% of the population.”
DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY ADVOCATES SUE JURISDICTIONS: Several Maryland counties made changes to their websites Tuesday after an organization that advocates for and supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities filed a lawsuit against them, alleging they are providing members of the community unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.
- The lawsuit claims that these six jurisdictions — Carroll, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and Talbot counties, as well as the city of Baltimore — failed to list people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as members of priority group 1B on their websites and, in doing so, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports.
JONES’ HEAVILY AMENDED POLICE REFORM BILL IN HOUSE: The Police Accountability Act of 2021, a major law enforcement reform measure sponsored by House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) hit the House floor for an initial airing Tuesday morning, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
GOP OFFERS ALTERNATIVES TO FUND CLIMATE BILL: Maryland Senate Republicans tried Tuesday to change how a sweeping climate action bill would be paid for by offering two amendments with alternative funding strategies, but both efforts failed in votes on the Senate floor, Elizabeth Schwe reports in Maryland Matters.
STATE’s FISCAL PICTURE BETTER THAN EXPECTED: Maryland’s revenue picture is far better than previously expected thanks to the massive federal stimulus packages that boosted spending, state economic forecasters said Tuesday. Madeleine O’Neill of the USA Today Network reports that despite the good financial news, the state still has a long way to go toward recovering jobs, particularly in lower-wage industries hit hardest by COVID-19.
BILL WOULD MAKE MAIL-IN BALLOTS EASIER TO UNDERSTAND: As Maryland lawmakers weigh measures to permanently expand mail-in ballots, a Democratic legislator wants to make mail-in voting materials easier for voters to understand, writes Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters.
HOUSING ADVOCATES BLAST AMENDED TENANT RELIEF BILL: The Maryland House Judiciary Committee advanced a heavily cut-back relief proposal for tenants Tuesday night, drawing criticism from housing rights advocates who say the trimmed-down legislation doesn’t help enough, Bennett Leckrone writes in Maryland Matters.
EX-COMMERCE DEPT. EXEC PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORN: Mathew Palmer, a former Maryland state Commerce Department executive who abruptly resigned in August, pleaded guilty Tuesday to distribution of child pornography after authorities found more than 1,000 photos and videos of minors on his phone, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.
MO CO TO REPLACE COUNTY HAZARD PAY WITH RAISES: Montgomery County employees will get raises under a new deal struck with three unions that will replace the COVID-19 hazard pay policy, Briana Adhikusuma reports in Bethesda Beat. The County Council voted 8-1 to support the raises for both union and nonunion employees.
ROBERT EHRLICH SR., FORMER GOV’s FATHER, DIES: Robert L. Ehrlich Sr., the father of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. died on Tuesday. In a Facebook post, the Republican governor from 2003 to 2007 said he and his wife, Kendel, said goodbye to their “beloved patriarch,” reports McKenna Oxenden for the Sun.