BALTIMORE — Nearly a month and-a-half after taking office and halting all in-person dining, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has decided to lift some restrictions while adding new limitations.
Come Friday at 6 am, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open at 50 percent outdoor capacity and 25 percent indoors.
But there's a caveat.
Unlike any other jurisdiction in Maryland, the city will limit customers to just one-hour of dining.
Diners will also be required to sign in and out of the restaurant for contact tracing purposes.
Despite the current cold weather season, outdoor dining tents will have to keep half their flaps up in order to remain open and serve customers.
Since Scott's shut down order took effect, several mainstays of the Baltimore dining industry have struggled to stay afloat forcing them to temporarily close their doors.
During the ban, Nacho Mama's and Mama's On The Half Shell decided to merge with their Baltimore County locations, where restrictions are less stringent.
The Restaurant Association of Maryland tried getting a Circuit Court judge to reverse Scott's orders but was twice rejected, a decision the Mayor often reminds citizens of when holding his weekly COVID-19 updates.
Aside from restaurants, Scott is allowing gyms to resume socially distanced fitness classes for up to 10 people.
While adult entertainment clubs will remain closed, all other indoor recreation sites can reopen at 25 percent max occupancy.
As for hookah & cigar lounges, merchandise can be sold on site, but no smoking inside.
Live performances will be limited to streaming with no live crowds in attendance.
These latest revisions will be in place for a four week period, and come the same day Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States.
As of Wednesday there have been 36,055 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Baltimore, including 757 deaths.
On January 25, Baltimore City Community College will begin acting as a vaccination site, at which point the city will no longer use Under Armour's Port Covington campus.
Just over 4 percent of the city's population has received the first dose of the vaccination. Only 4,149 residents have been given the second dose, according to the Maryland Department of Health.