Baltimore Tightens COVID Restrictions, Closes Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Business COVID-19 News

Baltimore Tightens Coronavirus Restrictions, Closing Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Baltimore, MD / US - The Visitor Sign sign in the city, Inner Harbor. (iStock/gsheldon)

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced new coronavirus restrictions across the city on Dec. 9, including both indoor and outdoor dining.

Scott, who was sworn in as mayor on Dec. 8., announced the restrictions, which are aimed at decreasing and limiting capacity in some places while completely closing others, will be implemented Friday at 5 p.m.

Under the new restrictions, indoor gatherings at public and private locations will be limited to ten people and outdoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to 25 people. All sports events and facilities controlled by the Parks and Recreation Department will be closed.

Religious services, fitness centers, gyms, and retail stores, museums, zoos, and aquariums will be capped at 25% of their maximum capacity. Casinos will also be capped at 25% and cannot serve food or drinks. Indoor recreation, including cigar stores, hookah lounges and strip clubs will be closed. Theaters and outdoor entertainment venues will also be closed. Restaurants will be closed for indoor and outdoor dining, but can still be open for takeout only.

Scott knows the coronavirus restrictions could be devastating for business owners in the area, but the numbers are telling a dangerous story. The city saw 304 new cases and 11 deaths on Dec.8 and the state saw its highest hospitalizations on Dec. 8, according to CBS Baltimore. Since the pandemic hit the U.S., the city has recorded 26,897 cases and 585 deaths.

Scott added $6.5 million in grants will be awarded by the state to support struggling businesses beginning next week. The city has already disbursed $2.8 million in grants to restaurants, carry-out establishments, bars, and taverns in the city.

Other cities are also gearing up for a new round of coronavirus restrictions. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects new restrictions “in a matter of days.” The city that never sleeps closed its public schools in early November, when the positivity rate went above 3% but reopened schools this week despite the positivity rate increasing in the city.

South Dakota, Texas, and North Carolina are also struggling to deal with the fall surge as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.