Politics & Business

Baltimore to renew in-person eating, different restricted actions on Friday

Effective Friday at 6 a.m., Baltimore will ease some coronavirus-related restrictions, including allowing indoor and outdoor dining to resume at limited capacity, Mayor Brandon Scott announced on Wednesday. Image via Facebook Live.

Baltimore restaurants, bars and breweries will be allowed to resume indoor and outdoor dining and service at limited capacity starting Friday at 6 a.m., Mayor Brandon Scott announced Wednesday morning.

The move comes six weeks after Scott announced the shutdown of in-person dining and other activities on Dec. 9.

Restaurants, bars and breweries will be allowed to resume outdoor dining at 50% capacity and indoor dining at 25% capacity, while seating patrons for a maximum of one hour. Flaps on any coverings for outdoor dining spaces must remain open.

Those businesses must keep a sign-in and sign-out sheet of patrons seated for indoor and outdoor dining to aid contact tracing efforts if an outbreak arises.

Gym classes will be limited to 10 people, with all individuals required to wear a mask.

Indoor recreation sites — not including adult entertainment, hookah and cigar lounges — will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity.

Hookah and cigar lounges will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity for retail sales but will have to remain closed for on-site consumption of their products.

Entertainment venues will be able to stream live performances.

Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 25 people, and indoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people.

These new changes will remain in effect for at least four weeks, Scott said, during which time he and his advisors will continue to monitor the city’s coronavirus data.

Scott also announced that he has reopened the Outdoor Dining Street Closure program, which allows restaurants to apply to be reimbursed for city and state fees associated with outdoor dining.

Scott said he and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa have evaluated the city’s coronavirus data on a daily basis in collaboration with public health partners to make today’s decisions.

“With the latest data and with our hospitalizations, fatalities and case count beginning to trend downwards, we are cautiously optimistic that we may have reached a tipping point,” Dzirasa said.

Although Scott hopes to see that trend continue, he also said Baltimoreans must remain vigilant to further reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“I am proud of our residents for the work they have put in to see this drop in numbers, but urge everyone to stay cautious and proactive,” he said. “Let me be very clear: we are still in a pandemic that has taken away our family, our community, our neighbors and friends, and we must continue to take that seriously.”

Starting on Monday, Baltimore City will open a new vaccination clinic at Baltimore City Community College, which was selected based on its location near a transportation hub at Mondawmin Mall.

Baltimore will wind down its vaccination operations at Port Covington this week. Any person who is schedule to receive a second vaccine dose at Port Covington will be emailed in the next few days about the change of their appointment location, Dzirasa said. Appointment times will not change.

Citing a recent report by the Abell Foundation which examined disparities in digital access for Marylanders, Dzirasa said the current internet-only vaccination appointment sign-up system creates barriers for people without internet access, especially older individuals.

Now, older adults in the Priority 1A and 1B groups can call 410-396-CARE (or 410-396-2273) for assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment.

Associate Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl

Marcus Dieterle is a freelancer and former associate editor of the Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Maryland. Before that, he served as the editor-in-chief of The Towerlight. Marcus graduated from Towson University in 2018 with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. He can be reached at (email protected) Latest posts by Marcus Dieterle (see all)

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