Mayor Brandon Scott said Tuesday he may update citywide restrictions on dining and non-mask wearing activities at the end of this week after his team reviews post-holidays COVID-19 data.
The city is in its fourth week of indoor and outdoor restaurant and bar closures, which Scott announced on his first full day in office. He also capped retail and religious institutions, gyms, malls and museums at 25% of capacity.
Scott said data such as hospitalizations, deaths and new infections will be the sole factor behind any change to the current restrictions.
“We are looking at the information coming out of the New Year's holiday as we saw spikes around the holidays. That's what will guide our decision, nothing else,” the Democrat said at a news conference.
He added that business owners will receive a full week’s notice before any restrictions are changed.
The city has seen a 19% decrease in new infections since the restrictions were introduced, Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. But, she added, that drop does not reflect the entire holiday period, where people may have spent time with those outside of their households.
Hospitalization rates remain high, she said: city intensive care units are at 87% capacity and acute care units are at 85% capacity.
Dzirasa said Baltimore City began distributing COVID-19 vaccines to health workers last week, after receiving a total of 2,700 doses. That number does not include doses sent to hospitals within Baltimore.
The city will follow the state’s guidance in allocating vaccines: health care workers, first responders and residents and staff at long-term care facilities are at the top of the distribution pyramid, followed by people at high risk of severe illness from COVID, followed by those at moderate risk and people in essential infrastructure roles. The general population is at the bottom of the pyramid.