Baltimore City mayor addresses New Year's celebrations

Posted at 5:05 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 17:13:13-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Despite an encouraging decrease in COVID-19 case numbers in Baltimore City, Mayor Brandon Scott said it’s not something to celebrate as we move into the New Year's weekend and he's asking residents to keep celebrations small.

"I know we are all looking forward to putting 2020 in our rear view but we have to do it in a safe way," said Scott.

Scott is asking people in the city to find new ways to celebrate the new year as we continue to see COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

But there is a bit of good news. The city has seen a 23 percent decrease in positive cases over the past 4 weeks.

"While we are seeing the spread of COVID slow in some ways, we are in nowhere near out of the woods," said Scott.

City officials believe new cases from Christmas celebrations will be reflected in the data within in a week, and with another major holiday just days away, they do not want to see a double whammy, pushing numbers back up.

"Please wear a mask, practice physical distancing and limit your gatherings to those in your household and be reminded that gatherings are limited to 10 people," said Scott.

"We know that family and social gatherings remain a high risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Not feeling sick is not a good reason to endanger yourself and your family as we also know that up to 50% of people who transmit COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms," said Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the Baltimore City Health Commissioner.

Because of the coronavirus, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts canceled the 2020 New Years Eve Spectacular, and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison is reminding residents that setting off your own fireworks is illegal.

"Our department will have a robust deployment strategy and will be on the lookout for those individuals violating the law," said Harrison.

Baltimore City is a little over halfway through the 4-week indoor and outdoor dining ban. Even with some encouraging trends, those restrictions aren’t changing as we move into the new year. As we get closer to the end of the ban, Scott said they will reevaluate if the restrictions are still needed.