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Baltimore City to move into Phase 1 of reopening plan Monday

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(r) Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young

Mayor Jack Young says the city would begin its phased reopening of services and businesses  based on positive trends in COVID-19 health data.  Mayor Young made the announcement Friday.

“After reviewing our data with our experts, I am confident we are ready to begin Phase I and allow certain low-risk activities to reopen,” Health Commissioner Dr. Dzirasa said. “What we are seeing is the result of the commitment and sacrifice of our residents saving the lives of their friends and neighbors. While we move into Phase I, residents should still practice social distancing, wear cloth face coverings, stay home if thney’re sick, and wash their hands often.”

While the City’s data supports the shift into Phase I reopening, Mayor Young noted that if the data changes and certain criteria are met, the City could return into a stay-at-home phase. The criteria for returning to stay-at-home or similarly strict constraints are:

  • 5-day increase in the number of new cases reporter
  • 5-day increase in the number of new deaths reported
  • The test positivity rate remaing above 20% for 5 days
  • Hospital utilization rate of more than 90% for 7 days

“As I have said all along, we will follow the data and let those metrics guide our process,” Mayor Young said. “I will work with the Health Commissioner and our public health experts to continue to monitor our progress.”
The shift into Phase I of reopening loosens certain restrictions on private businesses, while also increasing the availability of City-provided services available to residents. Under Phase I, the following activities will be allowed to come back online:

  • Barbershops and hair salons – by appointment only, with up to 5 people allowed inside per 1,000 square feet. After providing services to each customer, appropriate cleaning will need to take place per CDC and Maryland Department of Health guidelines.
  • Faith-based gatherings – faith-based organizations of up to 50 people can worship in tented outdoor services. (This is in contrast to other jurisdictions in Phase 1 Reopenings such as Baltimore County which allowed church/religious institutions to open at 50% capacity. The Archdicese of Baltimore resumed services at one-third capacity where permitted May 30). Fees for tent permits will be waived for exempt religious institutions during COVID restrictions, and Fire and Building inspections will be available within 48 hours of application. As a condition of the permit, congregants will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. Virtual worship is still strongly encouraged at this time.
  • The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar produced by Baltimore’s Office of Promotion & the Arts will open for its 43rd season on Sunday, June 14 at 7am with restrictions. It will open as a food resource only, and a limited number of people will be allowed to shop at any one time.
  • Childcare – childcare can open with limits of up to 10 people per room, and for use by essential workers.
  • Restaurants – as previously announced, restaurants can serve customers through outdoor seating. Restaurant licensees who would like to add outdoor seating can apply through the City’s e-permit website.
  • Summer camps – camps will be allowed to reopen, with limited capacity of up to 10 people per room for indoor activities and up to 50 people for outdoor activities. Baltimore City Recreation and Parks will offer a new BMORE Summer Fun experience – residents can register online.
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library – beginning on June 15, Pratt library branches will begin offering Sidewalk Service, a contact-free way for customers to pick up books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. Branches offering this service can be found here.
  • Retail outlets – non-essential retailers can provide curbside and delivery service.
  • Construction sites – construction sites can reopen with appropriate safeguards in place.
  • Hotels and accommodations – hotels and accommodations can reopen with appropriate safeguards in place.

“I want to thank all of our residents, our business owners, our faith leaders, and our City employees for their sacrifice and their patience as we continue to work to save lives,” Mayor Young said. “We still have work left to do, but we are making progress, and all of our residents deserve credit for the changes they have made to their daily lives to protect our loved ones.”