Baltimore City Loosens COVID-19 Restrictions on Indoor Dining, Recreational Facilities, Religious Facilities, and Retail Establishments

| September 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

The State of Maryland entered the first phase of Stage Three of ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ from COVID-19 last week, but the City of Baltimore did not loosen any restrictions at the time. Today, however, Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced he is moving the City into Stage Two which will increase the capacity at retail, restaurant, entertainment, recreation, and religious facilities.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young press release: 

Last week, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the City will loosen restrictions on occupancy in accordance with sustained improvements of key COVID-19 indicators. Mayor Young issued the following statement:

“I am happy to announce Baltimore continues to see significant improvement in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “As a result, we will be easing some of our restrictions on occupancy, but we will need residents to continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings if we want to maintain these gains.”

The changes are based on restrictions placed on the occupancy of various types of facilities in Mayor Young’s August 7th Executive Order. The following changes will take effect at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020:

  • Indoor dining: Indoor dining will be allowed at 50% max occupancy (currently 25%). Also, the 10 p.m. curfew on indoor dining is lifted.
  • Religious facilities: Will be allowed at 50% max occupancy (currently 25%).
  • Retail establishments and malls: Will be allowed at 50% max occupancy (currently 25%).
  • Indoor recreation establishments: Will be allowed at 50% max occupancy (currently 25%).
  • Theaters and Outdoor Entertainment: Indoor theaters will be allowed at 50% max occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues will be allowed at 50% max occupancy or 250 people, whichever is less.
  • Casinos: Will be allowed at 50% max occupancy (currently 25%)
  • Gatherings:
    • If the space involved has a fire code-rated maximum occupancy, then the cap is 25% of that occupancy for gatherings in that space. If an indoor event venue or space is designed to accommodate more than one event, the limitation of 25% applies to each venue or space, provided that the facility at no time exceeds 25% maximum occupancy.
    • If the space involved does not have a fire code-rated maximum occupancy, then the cap is 25 people for gatherings.
    • Gathering is defined as “an assembly or meeting, especially a social or festive one or one for a specific purpose.” Gatherings include but are not limited to a celebration, event, party, cookout, parade, or a festival.

Over the last month, there have been encouraging changes in three key COVID indicators – new COVID cases, COVID deaths, and COVID test positivity.

  • Between August 1st and August 26th, the 7-day average for the number of new COVID cases in Baltimore city declined by 57%.
  • For the same time period, the 7-day average for the number of COVID deaths declined by 23%.
  • For the same time period, there was a 40% decrease in the City’s positivity rate, from 5.5% to 3.3%, between August 1st and August 25th.

“I want to continue to urge all of our businesses and houses of worship to continue using COVID-19 best practices to stop the spread of this disease, and thank and continue to ask Baltimore City residents to do their part as well,” Mayor Young said. “By working together and continuing to take precautions, we can continue to make progress in this fight.”

The September 8, 2020 Executive Order can be seen here.

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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