BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Jack Young signed an executive order reopening indoor dining at a reduced capacity starting Friday, while still adding some updated restrictions on gatherings.
Restaurants may reopen in Baltimore City for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity with social distancing and face coverings when not eating or drinking. Outdoor gatherings must be capped at 25 people.
On Friday morning, he updated the order based on feedback and questions, the city received.
Mayor Young's updated executive order includes the following:
- Indoor dining: Restaurant dining rooms must close at 10:00 p.m. A restaurant's kitchen is permitted to remain open past 10:00 p.m. to serve carryout and for outdoor dining only.
- Indoor and outdoor gatherings: Capped at 25 people.
- Indoor gatherings at event venues: capped at 25 people or 25% occupancy, whichever is lower. If the venue has multiple event spaces, the 25 person/25% occupancy limit applies separately to each space within the venue, as long as the collective occupancy does not exceed 25% of the venue.
- Religious facilities: Capped at 25% of occupancy only.
- Retail establishments and malls: Capped at 25% of occupancy only.
- Indoor Recreation Establishments: Capped at 25% of occupancy only.
Indoor recreation establishments include bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, roller and ice skating rinks, social and fraternal clubs and indoor areas of any other establishment subject to Maryland's admission/amusement tax.
In this executive order "gathering" is defined as an assembly or meeting, especially a "social or festive one for a specific purpose,"
The order takes effect Friday, August 7, at 5 p.m.
"I'm pleased that Mayor Young is reopening our local restaurants for indoor service," said Colin Tarbert, President & CEO, Baltimore Development Corporation. "The pandemic has been crushing for our restaurants. Allowing for limited indoor dining is a step in the right direction to help keep them going during this time of distress. Baltimore needs to remain open for business."
Ed Prutzer, the General Manager of the Rusty Scupper, said the additional seating, both indoor and outdoor, makes all the difference.
"The big thing is, when the weather doesn't cooperate, now we're still in business," Prutzer said. "Where before, if it rained, we were out of business for that day. If it rained mid-shift or anything like that, we really had no place to move anyone."
Mayor Jack Young said in a statement Thursday that he has chosen to act to protect "the financial wellbeing of our city and our residents," and that Congress' "inability to come to an agreement to provide relief and support" has forced his hand.
He said the reopening doesn't mean residents are in the clear relating to the pandemic, but that he wants to support residents facing "extreme financial hardships as a result of working in the restaurant and service industry."
Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said residents should remain vigilant, stay six feet apart from others, wearing face coverings and avoid being in indoor settings around others who aren't in their household for prolonged periods of time.
The moratorium on permits for large gatherings is extended through the end of September.
The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore will provide information and initiatives to help residents and business owners access relief funds, create new outdoor dining space and stimulate sales.
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