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Baltimore City Health Department waiting to hear from mega church on its safety reopening plan

Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 17:38:40-04

BALTIMORE — As of Friday, health officials in Baltimore said they have not heard back from Greater Grace World Outreach Church. The church was ordered to temporarily shut down, saying it violated restrictions in place to slow the spread of Transmission.

Officials said the Greater Grace was temporarily shuttered due to violations involving social distancing and a lack of face coverings.

The discovery was made on Sunday. It was a follow-up visit from December citing similar problems.

A man who would only identify himself as a Greater Grace employee, said "we have no comment at this time."

The church shutdown marks the first-time city officials have closed a church over social distancing concerns.

On Monday a health department spokesperson said, "Organizations and businesses that are closed due to COVID violations are required to shut down public operations until they have submitted a written “COVID-19 safe reopening plan” that details how they will reopen safely, under the applicable Executive Order(s). Upon receipt of that reopening document, the Baltimore City Health Department holds a conference call with the managers to go over and approve the plan, after which they are allowed to reopen. During the time the organization is closed, staff are allowed to enter and exit the facility.

As of the writing of this email, the Baltimore City Health Department has not received a written COVID-19 safe reopening plan from the Greater Grace World Outreach Church."

Other businesses listed on the Health Department's rooster of closed business is Norma Jeans. The adult entertainment along with 3 others were asked to temporarily closed. Some have since reopened.

Norma Jeans' owner Pete Ireland said he had a conference call scheduled with the health department to go over his reopening plan.

"Our hope is to be open by tonight," said Ireland. "We're taking this very seriously."

Ireland said he already hired more security to work the floor to make sure social distancing is being followed and people are wearing face masks.