Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that capacity restrictions on recreational sports and programs, wedding receptions, and social and fraternal organizations will be relaxed to match current State standards effective on Friday, February 19th at 5:00 p.m. The decision to relax restrictions on events follows significant decreases in Howard County’s positivity rate and case rate per 100,000 residents, currently at 3.8% and 13.2 cases, respectively. This week Howard County’s 7-day average positivity rate fell below 4% for the first time since November 8th.
“Howard County has seen a consistent decline in our key metrics over the past two weeks, and we’re very grateful to our residents and businesses who have taken precautions throughout this winter surge to slow the spread the virus,” said Ball. “This is a step in the right direction and we must stay vigilant to keep our data trending downward. After nearly a year with this pandemic, we all know the mitigation measures we must continue, wearing our masks, keeping our distance, washing our hands, and when it becomes available to you, getting a vaccine. Let’s StayCOVIDSafe Howard County.”
The new Executive Order allows:
· Wedding receptions and social and fraternal organizations to host up to 50 percent capacity;
· Indoor recreational sports and programs to host 50 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less; and
· Outdoor recreational sports and programs to host 50 percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.
“We are pleased that the COVID-19 data in Howard County continues to trend in a positive direction,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “While this data is favorable, we must continue our vigilance and discipline in adhering to wearing facial coverings, physically distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings to remain safe.”
These types of gatherings had been limited to a 10-person maximum indoors and 25-person maximum outdoors since late November to account for increasing COVID case and positivity rates in Howard County. The gathering limit is still in effect for the following:
· Family gatherings
· Other gatherings not associated with operating or patronizing a business that sells merchandise