Restaurants in Baltimore closed to indoor and outdoor dining starting Friday

On December 9, 2020, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announces the closing of restaurants in Baltimore on Friday, December 11, 2020 (WBFF)

BALTIMORE, MD (WBFF)- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced new restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. All food service establishments will be closed to indoor and outdoor dining starting on Friday at 5 p.m.

Other restrictions include:

  • Indoor gatherings - no more than 10 people
  • Outdoor gatherings - no more than 25 people
  • Sport gatherings at Rec and parks facilities - prohibited
  • Religious establishments - 25% capacity
  • Retail establishments and malls - 25% capacity
  • Indoor recreation - closed - this includes cigar and hookah bars
  • Personal services - 25% capacity - 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, staff providing services, and other residents who enter the shop.
  • Fitness centers - 25% capacity
  • Casino 25% capacity - no food and drink
  • Libraries - may continue to operate with curbside pickup only
  • Museums, Maryland Zoo, Aquarium - 25% capacity

Carry-out service and drive-thru service may continue at restaurants.

"COVID doesn't get tired. COVID doesn't take days off and COVID doesn't care how you want to go back to normal," said Mayor Scott.

It is actively looking to infect us all

"The increased restrictions for Baltimore City are designed to help reduce the burden on our health care system and to curve the rising number of new cases," said Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the Baltimore City Commissioner of Health. According to Dr. Dzirasa, nearly every single zip code in the city has a positivity rate above 5% and some near 10%.

Mayor Scott said the city has been proactive in finding ways to support the restaurants and bars and acknowledged that the industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Mayor Scott said 30% of the first round of financial help went to businesses that received no federal money. He said that an additional $6.5 million in grants from the state of Maryland will begin being awarded next week. He said more than 300 restaurants will receive the new grant assistance.

Dr. Dzirasa said the reason that bars and restaurants are being closed is that contact tracing reveals them to be high-risk settings.

"But, as Dr. Inglesby mentioned, what we do know is that, generally speaking, bars and restaurants - because you're not wearing a mask, you're eating and drinking, you're staying indoors maybe for longer periods of time with people outside of your household - are higher risk settings," said Dr. Dzirasa.

“Baltimore, we are still in a pandemic. And to be quite honest, some people are not acting like it,” said Mayor Scott.

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