Officials In Baltimore-Area, Howard County Remind Residents Stay-At-Home Order Still In Effect As Churches Hold Services, Public Gatherings Continue
BALTIMORE, MD. (WJZ) -- Officials in Baltimore City and in Howard County said they're not ready to completely reopen.
It's why restaurants are still only offering carry-out services, as police had to continue enforcing and reminding residents that a stay-at-home order is still in effect.
Maryland reached nearly 39,000 cases of the coronavirus and a third-straight week of hospitalizations dropping down by 40 patients Sunday.
It's the main statistic Gov. Larry Hogan used to justify lifting a statewide stay-at-home order on Friday.
"We are making progress, but we are not yet where we need to be to safely reopen," said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer.
Officials are citing their number of cases and lack of testing as enough reason to stay closed.
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In Baltimore County, they are operating under a modified reopening, where churches still cannot hold indoor services.
"If Walmarts open, it's time for the churches to be open," said David Gibbs, legal council for Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk.
But at Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, churchgoers defied the order.
"The governor opened churches back up, unbelievably your county has acted unconstitutionally," Gibbs said.
Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore City also defied the order.
"We got a mayor saying we can only worship in our parking lots which is ridiculous," said Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr. Pastor.
On Saturday, videos of a large crowd in the city from were shared by neighbors who said police responded in a helicopter to break it up.
"The stay-at-home order is still in effect," police were heard saying.
Across town in Fells Point, hundreds took to the streets, causing police to shut down parts of the area to disperse people.
"Police cars start to congregate and move down the street," a passerby said.
Authorities are asking people to stay at home as much as possible, but if you do go out and conduct essential business, you're strongly encouraged to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
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