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Baltimore Loosens Restrictions To Allow 50% Capacity At Malls, Religious Facilities, Indoor Dining

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  Loosened pandemic restrictions in Baltimore’s phase 2 reopening will go into effect at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, including increased capacity at indoor restaurants.

Mayor Jack Young issued an executive order that allows restaurants, religious facilities, retail establishments and malls, indoor recreation establishments and casinos to increase operations from 25% to 50% of their capacity.

Capacity at indoor restaurants, religious facilities, retail establishments and malls, indoor recreation establishments and casinos may increase from 25% to 50%, per an executive order from Mayor Jack Young. 

The Democrat also released new mandates for indoor and outdoor gatherings; they are capped at 25% of a space’s fire-code rated maximum occupancy.  For example, the number of guests allowed at a wedding venue with an outdoor space would be capped at 25% of its fire code rated capacity. 

If a space involved does not have a fire code-rated maximum occupancy, such as a backyard cookout, the cap is 25 people.

Theaters remain open at 25% capacity. 

Baltimore has seen encouraging trends in three key COVID indicators: new cases, deaths and test positivity rates. Between August 1 and August 26, the 7-day average for the number of new COVID cases in Baltimore city declined by 57%, while deaths declined by 23%.

Between August 1 and August 25, the city’s test positivity rate decreased from 5.5% to 3.3%. 

Gov. Larry Hogan moved Maryland into the third and final stage of his reopening plan last week, but local officials such as Young have the power to impose stricter restrictions if they see fit.


Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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