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Baltimore Restrictions Stay In Place, As ICU Capacity Rises

Screenshot via CharmTV

  Mayor Brandon Scott will keep Baltimore’s Phase 1 COVID-19 in place  the city’s intensive and acute care units approach the limits of their  capacity..

“Unfortunately, we are still seeing the impacts of New Year's Eve in our data,” the Democrat said at a news conference. “These are not decisions that I made lightly.” 

Scott said the plight of restaurant owners and restaurant workers, whose businesses are only open for carryout, keeps him up at night. 

“I know that we're all anxious to get back to some state of normalcy, but we continue to take precautions as the data determines,” he said. “As soon as it's safe to reopen, we will. The actions we take today will help protect the ones that we love, so that we can all be together in the future.”

The mayor addressed a circuit court ruling in favor of his restrictions that came after a restaurant trade group sued the city for its restrictions. The Restaurant Association of Maryland had argued many restaurants could not survive on carryout-only sales.

“That’s not a victory. We're not celebrating,” Scott said of the ruling. “We're just simply saying that we are going to continue to operate under the guise of public health.”

He said his administration will assemble a roundtable of restaurant owners over the weekend.

Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa addressed the city’s vaccination plan, saying that  every vaccination appointment for Priority Group 1A members has been filled through the end of January. 

“I'm actually reassured by the overwhelming interest many residents have in getting vaccinated,” she said.

The city has received about 11,000 vaccination doses and is working on vaccinating members of Group 1A, which include healthcare workers and first responders. The city will solely vaccinate those in that group through Jan. 29 before turning to Group 1B.

That group includes residents that are 75 and older, people experiencing homelessness, shelter staff and residents, high risk incarcerated individuals, and individuals in group home settings. Other members of 1B include K-12 teachers and support staff in schools, child care workers, government operations employees, public and private transit workers and manufacturing workers.

The city can currently administer 500 doses per day at its single mass vaccination site in Port Covington. Scott said he was working on partnerships with the state and private sector on developing other mass vaccination sites.


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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