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Baltimore City moves to allow outdoor dining at area restaurants

BALTIMORE, MD—On Thursday, Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced that restaurants with outdoor dining permits can begin serving patrons outside at 5 p.m., on Friday, May 29th.

“After consulting with our Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, and reviewing Baltimore City’s health data on COVID-19, we will move forward with allowing outdoor dining,” Mayor Young said. “I want to thank all of our business owners and restaurant employees for their patience and continued adherence to the use of social distancing and face coverings as we allow for this next step in our reopening.”

Restaurants that are already permitted for outdoor dining can begin serving meals outside on Friday, May 29 at 5 p.m. Restaurants that do not currently have outdoor seating permits can begin applying for a permit at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 1st.

Applicants for a temporary outdoor dining permit can apply online by visiting the city’s electronic permitting site. On Monday, applicants can visit the city’s e-permits site and select the category for “Outdoor Seating – Temporary” to apply.

“Based on the increase we have seen in testing capacity recently, coupled with the decrease we have seen in the overall positivity rate of tests, opening outdoor dining facilities can be done safely, provided appropriate guidance is followed,” Dr. Dzirasa said. “We are continuing to examine the data daily to ensure it is trending in the right direction. Residents dining outdoors should still practice social distancing, and should wear face coverings, except when eating.”

In keeping with Governor Hogan’s Wednesday order on outdoor dining, Restaurants must:

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  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

Mayor Young also announced that the city will review its policy regarding size limits on religious gatherings within a week. Policies involving the operation of private outdoor swimming pools will be reassessed within two weeks. Currently, all city-operated pools remain closed.

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