Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks speaks during a March 11 press conference on the county's response to the coronavirus pandemic. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks speaks during a March 11 press conference on the county's response to the coronavirus pandemic. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Thanks to Prince George’s County’s COVID-19 data showing progress, businesses can allow more customers at their establishments this week.

Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, businesses such as restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms can operate at 50% capacity.

However, private indoor gatherings are limited to 20 people and outdoor get-togethers at 50 people.

When people step outside their home, they must still wear masks and adhere to the six-feet social distancing guidelines at all businesses and on public transportation.

“We will take a measured approach to reopening [and] modifying current restrictions on businesses and other establishments,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said during a press briefing Thursday. “These decisions were made based on the science and advice of our public health officials.”

County officials will not fully lift capacity limits at businesses, unlike what Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday for the entire state, because Prince George’s continues to lead Maryland in confirmed coronavirus cases with 74,726.

Recent county data shows the positivity rate decreasing from 7% in January to the current mark of 4.3%.

The infection rate, which indicates how many times each infected person spreads the virus, now stands at .94. The goal is to keep it below 1.0.

Fewer than 100 patients are in county hospitals due to COVID-19 — the lowest hospitalizations have been in four months, said George Askew, deputy chief administrative officer for the county’s Health, Human Services and Education.

On Wednesday, Hogan and Alsobrooks announced more residents can receive shots in the arm at the Six Flags America mass vaccination site in Upper Marlboro.

About 300 Prince George’s residents will be prioritized per day for a total of 2,100 per week.

The county health department now has the capacity to administer 15,000 doses per week at five clinics and three mobile units. So far, more than 100,000 residents have received at least the first of a two-dose vaccine and 50,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

“The progress in our key metrics, the reduction in our hospitalizations, the thousands of Prince Georgians getting vaccinated each day allow us to move forward safely and cautiously with resuming our reopening journey,” Askew said.

To pre-register or schedule a vaccination appointment, go to www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/covid-19-vaccination.

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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