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Young Tightens Pandemic Restrictions In Baltimore, City In “Amended Phase 1”

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Screenshot via CharmTV
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Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced tightened pandemic restrictions in a news conference Friday afternoon, citing alarming COVID-19 trends that have crept upward throughout the city.

Effective at 5:00 p.m. next Thursday, indoor and outdoor restaurants, theaters, malls, and religious facilities, must cap capacity at 25%. Gatherings at homes, both indoor and outdoors, are limited to 10 people.

Bars without a license to sell food must shut down at that time. All restaurants must stop indoor dining by 10 p.m.

“I am instituting these restrictions for the public health and to save lives in Baltimore City,” Young, a Democrat, said.  

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa also announced an updated health order that requires masks be worn in public at all times.

“If you are in a public space, inside or outside, you should be wearing a face cloth covering over your nose and your mouth, period,” she said.

Dzirasa said the city is now recording an average of 103 new cases per day — an increase of more than 53% over the last month. The city also had a 73% spike in the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU care.

“This data is alarming and requires action,” Dzirasa said. 

Dzirasa called Young’s new measures an “amended phase one,” saying that the city has entered the dreaded second wave of the virus that experts predicted back in the spring.

Baltimore’s top health official also advised Baltimoreans against participating in large family gatherings as the holidays approach, saying celebrations should be limited to immediate household family members only.

“Is Thanksgiving with all of your extended family worth the risk of putting an older loved one in the hospital?” she asked. “Is your Christmas morning spent together worth a New Year’s Eve spent in the hospital, alone?”

 

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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