Mayor Scott, Health Commissioner Announce Updated Guidelines for Face Coverings and Graduation Ceremonies
Friday Apr 30th, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, April 30, 2021) — Today, Baltimore City enacted a new mask Health Order that eases some restrictions on mask wearing outdoors. This Health Order, issued by Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, aligns Baltimore City with the State of Maryland order and new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding mask wearing for people who are vaccinated.
Beginning immediately, people will not be required to wear face coverings while outdoors, unless they are attending events in “outdoor venues,” such as concerts, sporting events and other live performances held outdoors. The updated mask order can be found here.
“The CDC’s latest guidance demonstrates the clear benefits of being vaccinated for Baltimore City residents,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “By getting vaccinated, we can start returning to pre-pandemic activities, beginning with being outside without a face covering.”
Unvaccinated people and those who are not yet fully vaccinated are still strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when outdoors to reduce the chances of disease transmission. Other aspects of the Health Order remain in effect for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, including requirements that residents and visitors wear face coverings indoors and on public transportation.
“Until we reach herd immunity, we still urge residents to be mindful of how their activities may unintentionally contribute to disease spread,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “Although we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, today's announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter in Baltimore’s response, and increasing our vaccination rate will be the key to lifting further restrictions."
Additionally, Mayor Scott is announcing an exception to Baltimore’s current Executive Order that will allow Baltimore-area colleges and universities to safely hold in-person commencement and graduation ceremonies for the 2021 season. All commencement and graduation ceremonies must be held in accordance with public health guidelines developed by the Baltimore City Health Department designed to keep students, faculty, and families safe.
“The Baltimore City Health Department has been engaged in conversation with local colleges and universities to assist with planning for outdoor commencements,” said Health Commissioner Dzirasa. “These guidelines will ensure that the 2021 graduation season is both celebratory and safe.”
The guidelines for safe commencement and graduation ceremonies will require all Baltimore City colleges and universities to:
- Hold ceremonies in an outdoor venue with a 25% capacity limit for outdoor events, similar to Camden Yards and the Preakness. Colleges and universities will have to determine how they limit tickets to graduates to accommodate this requirement.
- Maintain social distancing between members of different households.
- Require masks at all times.
- Provide a sign in or ticketing mechanism that tracks participants and guests in attendance for contact tracing purposes.
“Our students deserve the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments after pushing through an incredibly challenging, unprecedented year,” said Mayor Scott. “I thank Commissioner Dzirasa for working closely with our colleges and universities to develop a plan that allows students, faculty, and families to commemorate this important milestone in person.”
For more information about Baltimore City’s COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov.