The Covid-19 Pandemic
Mayor Scott orders end of indoor and outdoor dining in Baltimore
Capacity restrictions lifted over the summer will return under today’s directive by the new mayor
Above: Restrictions on restaurants and retail have been tightened again after Covid-19 cases have increased steadily. The scene at Baltimore’s Ouzo Beach restaurant last May. (Fern Shen)
One day after being sworn into office, Mayor Brandon Scott has sharply rolled back Covid-19 restrictions, ordering the shutdown of indoor and outdoor dining as of 5 p.m. Friday.
Also taking affect on Friday is a 25% cap on the maximum capacity allowed at retail stores, supermarkets, religious institutions, gyms, malls, casinos and museums.
Sports gatherings in public spaces will be prohibited. Indoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to no more than 10 persons, and outdoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be restricted to 25 persons or fewer.
Residents should continue to stay at home and continue to work from home when possible. And face masks should be worn – and social distancing practiced – at all times in public places.
Scott announced the new restrictions at a news conference outside City Hall, saying they were intended “to save lives and reduce the stress on our medical system.”
“I said yesterday that I am not afraid to make difficult or unpopular decisions for the betterment of Baltimore,” he said, as Health Commissioner Letitia Dziras stood by his side.
Scott’s order comes as coronavirus cases and deaths are rising steeply in the city, as they are in Maryland and across the country.
Baltimore’s Covid-19 dashboard today illustrates the trend. It shows the seven-day average daily new case rate is now 40.7 per 100,000 – up 98% from four weeks earlier – and that the death rate has risen even more dramatically.
Baltimore has recorded 26,893 cases and 559 deaths as of today.
Statewide, coronavirus hospitalizations hit a new high today, with Maryland reporting 1,715 patients.
Scott’s rules are stricter than those imposed statewide by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
They roll the city back to the Phase 1 level lockdown imposed last spring at the start of the pandemic.
Read Scott’s executive order here.
Changes in effect at 5 p.m. on Friday
From the city’s release about the new restrictions:
- Indoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to no more than 10 persons.
- Outdoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to no more than 25 persons.
- Sports gatherings at facilities controlled by Recreation and Parks are prohibited.
- Religious facilities: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Retail Establishments and Malls: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Indoor Recreational Establishments: Must close after 5 p.m. Friday.
- Includes bingo halls, bowling alleys, roller and ice skating rinks, social and fraternal clubs, cigar and hookah establishments, and adult entertainment venues.
- Outdoor Recreational Establishments: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Includes golf courses and driving ranges, outdoor archery and shooting ranges, marinas and watercraft rental businesses, campgrounds, horse boarding and riding facilities, outdoor day camps and tour boats.
- Food service Establishments: Closed to indoor & outdoor dining.
- Carry-out, delivery and drive-through service may continue.
- Fitness Centers: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Casinos: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Personal Services: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Staff must wear face coverings at all times while indoors.
- Services must be provided on an appointment-only basis, and a log must be kept of names of customers, the staff providing services and other residents who enter the shop.
- Libraries: May continue to operate with curbside pickup service.
- Museums, Zoos, Aquariums: Limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
- Theaters and Outdoor Entertainment Venues:
- All indoor and outdoor entertainment venues are prohibited.
- Live performances and live streamed performances from any venue are prohibited.