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Baltimore County to align with Maryland’s initial Stage Three reopening steps

TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Wednesday announced that, effective Friday, September 4, at 5 p.m., Baltimore County would align with state actions to begin moving into a modified Stage Three plan, which will allow enclosed and outdoor theaters to reopen and retail and religious facilities to expand indoor capacity.

Governor Larry Hogan’s full announcement is available here.

County Executive Olszewski released the following statement:

“Baltimore County has taken significant steps to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while gradually and safely reopening our economy. Thanks to our efforts, and the efforts of County residents to protect themselves and their loved ones, we’ve seen continued progress.

I’ve consistently said that a patchwork approach to reopening only confuses residents, puts businesses who are just miles apart on unequal playing fields, and limits the public health impact of any individual jurisdiction’s decisions. By continuing to align with the state, Baltimore County is providing clarity for our residents—though these steps do not mean we can let our guard down.

It’s critical that we all continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. That means following the science which says wearing face coverings and socially distancing wherever possible are still our best tools in the fight against COVID-19. We have to Be Safe to Stay Safe to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

This dangerous disease is still with us and I urge all our residents and businesses to continue to follow the best public health guidance. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to strictly enforce state laws and guidelines – any businesses found to be violating face-covering or social distancing mandates, will be held accountable.

As with every step we have taken, we will continue to monitor this situation and will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary to protect the public’s health. We’re still in this together and can only get through this together.”

According to State metrics, Baltimore County’s positivity rate has remained below 5 percent since July 7, 2020 and is currently 4.4 percent—a reduction of a 67 percent reduction since May 29, 2020.

Baltimore County’s case rate is 1,800 cases per 100,000 residents—35 percent lower than Prince George’s County, 22 percent lower than Baltimore City, and 2 percent lower than Montgomery County.

Under Governor Hogan and Secretary Neil’s latest orders:

  • Indoor theaters may operate up to 50 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. State reopening guidance for theaters is available here.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues may operate up to 50 percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is lower.
  • All retail establishments and religious facilities may now operate up to 75 percent capacity.

Under the state order, indoor dining at food service establishments remains limited up to 50 percent capacity.

Face Coverings Still Required

Under state and local order, individuals ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in any indoor business, service, organization or establishment that serves the general public. This includes, but is not limited to, retail establishments, recreational establishments, theaters, houses of worship and other locations open to the public.

Individuals ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings when outdoors and unable to consistently maintain at least six feet of distance from individuals who are not members of their household.

Individuals are not be required to wear a mask if eating or drinking while seated. In accordance with Governor Hogan’s orders, face coverings are still required when otherwise moving in or about a restaurant or bar premises.

Baltimore County Expanding Enforcement Efforts

To date, Baltimore County has already issued notices to multiple bars and restaurants across Baltimore County for violation of state COVID-19 requirements. County officials continue to regularly inspect establishments for compliance and are currently in the process of hiring additional staff to further enhance the county’s ongoing response efforts.

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