BALTIMORE — Mayor Brandon Scott and other Baltimore officials held a news conference that touched on multiple different topics including COVID-19, July 4th safety, and keeping cool in the extreme heat.
A Code Red Alert has been issued in the city through Wednesday, prompting cooling centers to open until 7pm.
Masks will need to be worn in those cooling centers. Call 311 to find a center nearest you.
Code Red Alerts are called when heat indexes reach 105 degrees or higher.
Last year 100 patients went to the hospital for heat related illnesses, according to officials.
Scott said despite the heat, residents should still get a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Wednesday, 59.4 percent of city residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 53.3 are now fully vaccinated.
"Maryland state data shows that 97 percent of our new covid-19 cases are unvaccinated people and nearly 90 percent of hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated individuals," said Scott.
Meanwhile, mask mandates in the city are set to be lifted Thursday in line with Governor Larry Hogan's order to end Maryland's COVID-19 State of Emergency.
Private businesses can still require customers to wear masks if they choose.
The Mayor said the city is working to restore many in-person services by mid-August.
They include water billing and customer service walk-in centers, rec-center operations, the senior center division, career centers, housing department permits and inspections, parking enforcement, convention center bookings, and liquor board licenses.
Finally with Independence Day celebrations expected on Sunday, officials stressed that using and selling fireworks in the city are illegal and dangerous.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison also warned officers would be on the look out for residents illegally shooting firearms in the air in celebration.
Earlier this year, the city canceled the Inner Harbor's 4th of July fireworks display, citing COVID-19.