Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has issued an executive order that stops restaurants from serving customers indoors or outdoors while COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Maryland’s largest city.
The mandate for food businesses goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, December 11. It represents the most strict regulations imposed on Baltimore restaurants since late May, when outdoor dining returned to the city. Restaurants there will still be allowed to offer takeout, drive-thru, and delivery services.
The Democrat issued his order Wednesday, December 9, just a day after he was sworn into office as the city’s youngest mayor, at 36 years old. The same day, Maryland reported a record-high total of 1,715 hospitalizations for coronavirus patients, slightly exceeding the previous mark from April. The Baltimore Sun reports the surge of hospitalizations is a 1,200-person increase from November 1. Baltimore has tallied 29 new COVID-related deaths in the past week.
The latest restrictions in Baltimore also include capping capacity at businesses, religious buildings, gyms, malls, and museums at 25 percent. Casinos are no longer allowed to serve food, and strip clubs and hookah bars have been closed.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s latest reopening order for the state calls for a 50 percent limit on indoor dining capacity, and counties closer to D.C. have gone further, limiting dining capacity to 25 percent.
In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser recently instituted a 10 p.m. cutoff for all alcohol service and consumption at restaurants and bars. Starting Monday, December 14, D.C. bars and restaurants are limited to 25 percent indoor dining capacity.