Based on Public Health Data, Mayor Scott Eases COVID-19 Restrictions
Wednesday Jan 20th, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Wednesday, January 20, 2021) — This morning, Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced that the City will modify its COVID-19 mandates in accordance with sustained improvements in key public health indicators and in consultation with the Health Commissioner and hospital partners.
“I have been very encouraged by our numbers since the start of the new year,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Almost three weeks into the month and our new cases and hospital utilization are down. Currently, Baltimore City has the lowest positivity rate in the State. This is a direct result of the restrictions I implemented shortly after being sworn into office and the sacrifices we have collectively made over the past six weeks. After consulting our public health experts, I have made the decision to ease some restrictions on occupancy, but we need residents to stay vigilant. Everyone must continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings if we want to build on these gains and keep our community safe.”
The following changes will take effect at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, January 22, 2020:
- Indoor Dining - Indoor dining will be allowed at 25% max occupancy.
- Outdoor Dining - Outdoor dining will be allowed at 50% max occupancy.
All outdoor dining spaces must be open on all sides with no enclosures permitted. To be clear, an outdoor tent with no sides is permitted.
- Dining - All guests will be limited to a 1-hour max time limit and restaurants must maintain a sign-in/sign-out sheet for both patrons and staff.
- Bars - Bars without food licenses will also be allowed to reopen at 50% max outdoor capacity and 25% max indoor occupancy.
- A 1-hour max time limit and sign-in/sign-out for patrons and staff are required.
- This also includes breweries.
- Fitness - Gym classes are permitted to resume, socially distanced, with masks required, and limited to 10 persons.
- Indoor Recreation Establishments - All indoor recreation sites with the exception of adult entertainment and hookah & cigar lounges will be permitted to reopen at 25% max occupancy.
- Hookah & cigar lounges are allowed to keep their retail sales open at 25% max occupancy, but must remain closed to onsite consumption.
- Live Performances - Streaming of live performances will be permitted.
- “Maximum Occupancy” means:
- The maximum occupancy load of the Facility under the applicable fire code as set forth on a certificate issued for the Facility by a local fire code official.
- If no such certificate has been issued for the Facility by the local fire code official, the maximum occupancy of the Facility pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, and permits.
“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 turning point,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “However, the re-opening of outdoor dining and limited indoor dining comes with the reminder that these are still locations where masking—one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus—cannot be maintained at all times. I urge residents to continue to be cautious, and to provide up to date contact information to the restaurant who will now be required to have sign in sheets, so that our contact tracers can quickly notify you if an outbreak occurred.”
Mayor Scott made the decision to allow restaurants to resume limited, in-person dining as early as this Friday morning based on feedback received from restaurant owners, who indicated they need more notice to wind down services than to restart them.
“Our restaurants and their employees have suffered tremendously throughout the pandemic, and my administration will maintain an open line of communication with them as we continue to discuss the continuing economic impacts of COVID-19 on their staff and businesses,” said Mayor Scott. “Thus far, the Baltimore Development Corporation has made $15 million available to local businesses and will be providing more support in the coming weeks. Today, my administration is making additional resources available to our businesses, in partnership with the Baltimore Civic Fund, to reimburse restaurants for City and State fees incurred associated with the public health mandates.”
The Outdoor Dining and Street Closure Program, made possible by the Baltimore Civic Fund, allows restaurants to receive reimbursement for City and State fees associated with outdoor table service. Businesses can be reimbursed up to $800 for minor privilege fees and health inspection costs. Those seeking reimbursement must provide their contact information, vendor W-9, applicable fee invoices, and proof of payment. The online rebate submission form is now live on the Baltimore Civic Fund website.