Baltimore City Remains Under Stay At Home Order as State Lightens COVID-19 Restrictions

| May 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan eased some restrictions on businesses and activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however today Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young extended the stay at home order for the city and announced criteria for reopening.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan press release: 

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.

Stage One will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

“As we begin Stage One of our recovery, I want to assure every Marylander who may feel uneasy, and anyone who is concerned that we are moving either too quickly or too slowly, that each and every decision we make is both fact-based and science-based and made only after extensive consultation with our expert Coronavirus Recovery Team,” said Governor Hogan. “We are continually monitoring this crisis, we remain focused on the clusters, outbreaks, and hotspots, and I can assure you that we remain ready to quickly and decisively respond to any changes in the facts on the ground, and that we will continue to attack this virus with every single tool at our disposal.”

SAFER AT HOME. Effective Friday, May 15, at 5:00 pm, Maryland will move from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory.

Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, are strongly advised to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so. Maryland citizens should continue wearing masks in indoor public areas, retail stores, and on public transportation. Additionally, Marylanders should continue practicing physical distancing, continue avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keep washing their hands often, and frequently sanitize high-touch areas.

LOCAL FLEXIBILITY FOR JURISDICTIONS. Governor Hogan’s ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ provides a flexible and community-based approach which empowers county leaders to make decisions regarding the timing of Stage One reopening in their individual jurisdictions. Read the new order here.

RETAIL STORES. Governor Hogan announced that retail stores may reopen at up to 50 percent capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions in place. Examples of businesses that may reopen include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, art galleries, and bookstores.

MANUFACTURING. Governor Hogan announced manufacturing may resume operations in a safe manner which protects the health of employees, with guidelines encouraging multiple shifts and other safety precautions.

CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP. Churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged. Religious leaders are strongly urged to do everything possible to keep their congregants safe, and particularly to protect the elderly and vulnerable within their congregations.

PERSONAL SERVICES. Some personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.

‘BACK TO BUSINESS.’ Businesses that adopt all safety guidelines are encouraged to take a ‘Back to Business’ pledge.

Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young press release: 

Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced an extension of Baltimore City’s Stay at Home order, in order to allow more time for key benchmarks to be reached in the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Young issued the following statement:

“In close consultation with public health experts, I am extending the Stay At Home order for Baltimore City,” Mayor Young said. “As I have said from the beginning of this state of emergency, we are going to follow the data and listen to what our public health experts are telling us – and right now, they are saying it is still too soon to reopen.”

Mayor Young’s Stay At Home order will extend the requirement that residents remain in their homes unless performing essential jobs or tasks.

Among other metrics, Mayor Young highlighted the need to significantly increase testing capacity in order to meet guidelines established by public health experts. Based on Baltimore City’s population, World Health Organization guidance would indicate roughly 2700-2800 tests should be completed per day.

Daily testing volume changes on a weekly basis, with less testing occurring on weekends. For the weekly cycle from April 27 through May 3, an average of 486 tests per day were conducted among City residents. For the weekly cycle from May 4 through May 10 – the most recent full cycle – the average number of tests conducted per day was 571.  To date, all testing resources have come from the Baltimore City Health Department and our local hospitals.

“While we are continuing to work with the State to expand testing capacity, the simple truth is that we need more tests to safely reopen,” Mayor Young said. “Without more testing capacity, it would be irresponsible to begin the reopening process.”

As part of the review process for reopening, Mayor Young announced the following criteria would be taken into account, developed in close consultation with the Baltimore City Health Department and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa:

  • Sustained decrease of community deaths
  • Sustained decrease in new COVID-19 cases in the community
  • Adequate community testing for symptomatic individuals and frontline/essential workers
  • Sustained, robust contact tracing system in place

“While I am confident in the progress we are making toward achieving these benchmarks, we still have work to do in order to safely and responsibly reopen,” Mayor Young said. “I am asking our residents to continue keeping themselves, their families, their friends, and their neighbors safe and healthy by remaining home at this time, to give our frontline staff and health care workers the ability to save lives.”

With the stay at home order remaining in effect, the following activities statuses remain for all residents:

  • Unaffected
    • Going to the grocery store
    • Going to the pharmacy
    • Travel for health treatment for yourself, a family member, or a pet
    • Traveling to work (essential personnel)
  • Modified
    • Travel to work (non-essential personnel) – individuals may travel to their non-essential business to maintain property and conduct minimal operations
    • Travel for certain preventive and screening health-related services for yourself, a family member or a pet. Residents are encouraged to use their best judgment in scheduling preventive health care appointments
    • Outdoor exercise – individual outdoor exercise while practicing social distancing is permitted, however group fitness classes are unallowable
    • In-person religious services – in-person religious services may only be offered in parking areas with attendees remaining inside their appropriately spaced vehicles
    • Restaurants and bars – carry out and delivery service is allowed. In-facility service is not allowed
  • Suspended
    • Gatherings larger than 10 persons
    • Programming at Senior Centers
    • Fitness Centers
    • Theaters
    • Enclosed Malls
    • Recreational Establishments

Joint Statement from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Baltimore County Executive John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr. on Governor’s Phase 1 Re-opening

BALTIMORE, MD.  — Our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our people.  As Governor Hogan has acknowledged, there is not a statewide, one-size fits all approach to achieving that goal, and just four jurisdictions have 72 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases. Baltimore City and Baltimore County are two of those jurisdictions.  A flexible, community-based approach is necessary to empower individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding timing of Phase One re-openings.

For the Baltimore region to safely move into all of Phase One, we need more access to personal protective equipment, as well as increased testing capacity and more robust contact tracing. We’ve seen some progress in each of these areas, but we have to do even more.

We are taking a close look at the specific actions announced today, and we will determine our next steps in the next 24 hours. We acknowledge that this will not be welcome news to all of our residents. Individuals and businesses continue to make real sacrifices, and those sacrifices are preventing the spread of a deadly virus. However, rushing to reopen in our large, densely populated jurisdictions jeopardizes the lives of our neighbors and loved ones.

As we work towards re-opening as soon and as safely as we can, we continue to urge residents to stay at home, wear a mask in public spaces and to remain socially-distanced if they go out. We will continue to be there for each other, and we will get through this together.

About the Author:

News releases from various sources around South Baltimore.