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Indoor Dining Restrictions and Social Gathering Limits Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: July 28, 2020

County Executive Steuart Pittman’s Executive Order 27 found HERE

For the FAQs (PDF) on Updated COVID19 Restrictions Intended to Address the Increase in Cases & to Help Keep Anne Arundel County Open, click here.

Table of Contents:


What does Anne Arundel County’s Executive Order Number 27 do?
It is an order to impose restrictions on certain indoor use and to place limits on the size of social gatherings. The three aspects of the order are:

  • Bars, restaurants and other similar establishments in Anne Arundel County that sell food and alcoholic beverages, or alcoholic beverages only, on-premises in indoor facilities shall cease all indoor service at 10:00 p.m. daily.
    • NOTE: The bar or restaurant that sells alcoholic beverages must be cleared and closed by 10 p.m., which should be treated as the establishment’s “closing time.” It is recommended that the last-call or ending of orders be before 10 p.m. to allow patrons to finish and leave by 10 p.m.
    • The requirement to cease at 10 p.m. also applies to indoor private parties, banquets and events which take place indoors at bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages.
  • Food service establishments located in food courts in indoor shopping malls shall be limited to carry-out service only; dining at tables or other spaces in food courts is prohibited.
  • Indoor social gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. Outdoor social gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.


When does it take effect?
Friday, July 24, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.


Does it apply to the City of Annapolis?
Yes, this applies to the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.


How long will this indoor dining and the gatherings restriction last?
The order will last until terminated by a subsequent Executive Order or until the local proclamation of emergency expires or is terminated.


Why is this new guidance mainly for indoor dining and indoor bars?
Executive Order No. 27 focuses on reducing the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed facilities with many congregates. Therefore, the first step is to focus on individuals dining indoors for food or beverage consumption. Contact tracing has indicated there is high risk for exposure and transmission of the virus at indoor dining and bars.


Can bars be open outdoors?
Current guidance should be followed for outdoor seating including separation of seated groups and the wearing of face masks. The consumption of alcohol outdoors will follow previous guidance related to outdoor dining.


Can I dine outside, carry out food or get delivery after 10 p.m.?
Yes, individuals can still dine outdoors, get carryout or get delivery depending on the food service facilities hours of operation. When outside, masks are required and social distancing must still take place between tables and individuals attending restaurants.


Is there a max capacity for outdoor dining?
Under Hogan’s E.O. 20-06-10-01, indoor and outdoor dining should be at 50% of maximum capacity. Separation of tables and groups are still to be observed at 6 feet.


Are face masks or covers still required outside?
Yes, face masks or covers must be worn, but can be taken off while eating or drinking. When eating or drinking, face covers should be put on when encountering a server or staff person, who should also be wearing a properly fitted mask or face cover. Please see the full FAQ on face coverings HERE.


Can I use bathroom facilities inside a restaurant?
Yes. Restaurants are allowed to let individuals indoors to use restrooms and they should be cleaned regularly.


Are restaurants still keeping up with cleaning protocols for outside?
Restaurants should maintain cleaning protocols inside and outside their facility. Wiping down tables, using clean utensils and regularly cleaning common high-touch areas such as doorknobs, condiments, and armrests should be practiced.


Where am I allowed to go inside a mall?
The access inside a mall should be used exclusively as access into interior stores. In an effort to reduce spread, the congregating inside the mall is not allowed. Food court vendors can be open only for carry out or delivery.


What are considered “social gatherings”?
Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, cookouts, concerts or performances, parades, festivals, conventions, fundraisers and other gatherings that are not associated with operating or patronizing a business. Social gatherings do not include gatherings at retail stores, offices, restaurants, casinos, youth sports, gatherings for religious or spiritual purposes on the premises of a religious or spiritual facility, or wedding receptions, which are subject to the restrictions for Foodservice Establishments in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-06-10-01.


Do the 50-people outside and 25-people inside social gathering limits apply to private homes?
Yes, the effort is to reduce the unintentional spread of COVID-19 in large groups.


Can I still go to stores or to my church?
Executive Order No. 27 does not apply to gatherings in retail stores or religious/spiritual purposes.


Does the limit apply to weddings and funerals?
This order is not meant to apply to organized wedding events or funerals that are conducted at a religious institution or other facility capable of responsibly hosting an event following social distancing protocols. The host facility is responsible for ensuring that proper social distancing protocols and maximum occupancy limits (for indoor venues) are followed under existing guidelines and regulations.


Are farmers markets considered social gatherings according to Executive Order No. 27?
No, they are not.


What if my office building has over 50 employees who work inside and are spread out on different floors?
Each business/office should consider the essential need for employees in facilities while maintaining social distancing, face mask usage and proper hand hygiene practices. Gatherings at offices do not fall under this guidance.

Does this mean we are moving backward as a county? Can we expect to reverse all the way back to stage one/stay at home order?
In Anne Arundel County, we are beginning to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases. To ensure the safety for residents, this is a step to prevent spreading the virus more. If followed properly, this order will prevent us from moving back even more.

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