BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In-person dining will continue to be banned in Baltimore due to the city’s COVID-19 metrics, Mayor Brandon Scott announced Friday.
During a news conference, Scott said the city is “clearly not where we would like to be.”
His announcement comes one day after a judge rejected a lawsuit seeking to overturn the city’s ban on in-person dining.
Scott said he plans to gather a group of restaurant owners over the weekend to go over the city’s data and talk about how they can work together.
The city will revisit the restrictions “by the middle of next week,” the mayor said.
“I know that we are all anxious to get back to some type of normal, but we continue to take precautions as the data determines its safe to reopen we will,” Scott said.
“I feel their pain,” he added. “The inability for them not to work or run their business is one of the things that keeps me up at night.”
It’s been one month since restaurants in the city were forced to switch to take out only. Local restaurant owners say it’s putting a strain on business.
Eliza Doering, at Penny Black, says things haven’t been easy lately.
“It’s a struggle right now,” Doering said. “I think everybody is struggling right now.”
For indoor dining to resume, Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said the city needs to see decreases in hospitalizations and new case counts.
The city’s health department reports an average daily new case rate over the past week of 41 per 100,000 residents. The positivity rate sits at a seven-day average of 6.3%.
The city’s intensive care unit bed utilization rate is at 91% and acute care bed use is at 90%, Scott said.
“Unfortunately, we are still seeing the impacts of New Year’s Eve in our data,” he added.
Dzirasa said the city saw a slight dip in the number of new cases at the end of December followed by a spike during the first week of January.
“We believe this roller coaster trend line may correlate to early successes of reducing new cases thanks to our Phase One restrictions but that a surge of new cases stemming likely from Christmas and New Year’s led to spikes shortly post-holiday,” she said.
Following Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Thursday that the state would move to Phase 1B of its vaccination plan, city leaders said they are updating their plans accordingly.
Watch Mayor Scott’s Full News Conference Below:
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.