Frequently Asked Questions about the Baltimore COVID-19 Executive Orders

What are the new Executive Orders for Baltimore City?

Effective May 15th, Baltimore City will relax all business capacity restrictions, in alignment with the new State of Maryland order. Additionally, until the City reaches a higher level of vaccination, indoor masking and masking at outdoor venues will be required. As such, effective immediately, the Health Commissioner has issued an updated Directive and Health Order requiring face masking in Baltimore City. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What do the City’s latest Capacity Restrictions mean for my Business? 
Effective May 15th, 2021, all capacity limits have been lifted in Baltimore City, and all businesses can open at 100% capacity. 

What does the City’s Latest Mask Mandate mean? 
On May 14th, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa signed a new health order requiring Baltimore City residents and visitors to wear masks while indoors, as well as when attending an outdoor venue (see definition below). Masks are no longer required to be worn outdoors, although we still encourage residents to keep masks on their person (in a bag, purse, on their sleeve) in case they go inside a retail establishment, where masks are required. Also, we strongly encourage those not vaccinated to continue to wear a mask whenever they are unable to maintain social distance from others. 

What does “outdoor venue” mean? 
“Outdoor Venue” means any outdoor venue in Maryland at which live performances occur, motion pictures are shown, or sporting events occur AND entry is limited to ticketed customers. Ravens and Orioles games, outdoor concerts, and outdoor commencement ceremonies, for example, would qualify as outdoor venues. 

Do amateur and youth sports leagues need to wear masks if they're playing? What If they're watching others play?No, masks do not need to be worn while attending or participating in amateur/youth sports leagues. 

What about outdoor fitness classes?
Masks do not need to be worn at outdoor fitness classes, although a best practice would be to maintain social distancing during the workout. 

What about outdoor weddings? 
Masks do not need to be worn at outdoor weddings. 

Should I bring a mask with me when I leave my home?
Absolutely. Masks are proven to be effective at reducing disease transmission. While recent CDC guidance has shown that disease transmission is significantly reduced outdoors, indoor air circulation can still lead to disease transmission. As a best practice, we strongly recommend Baltimore City residents maintain a habit of keeping a mask in their bag, purse or on their sleeve, should they need to go indoors. 

How does lifting of the restrictions impact Senior Centers' reopening? 
Senior centers are allowed to open at full capacity. Social distancing is recommended and indoor masking is required per the City’s current indoor mask order. 

When will the indoor mask order be lifted? 
Baltimore City will lift the indoor mask order once 65% of Baltimore City residents 18 and older have received their first/single dose of coronavirus vaccine. You can check the progress of this goal at our Vaccine Dashboard. 

Why 65%?
In our view, the recent shift in guidance from the CDC stating that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors is a triumph of science, indicative of the ability the approved vaccines have to reduce the chances of significant illness from COVID, and also increasingly, to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.  We see this updated guidance as a clear sign that all eligible residents should get vaccinated as quickly as possible, in order to return our city and our country to pre-pandemic levels of normalcy. 

At the same time, realities on the ground make it difficult for Baltimore City to immediately follow suit in removing our local indoor mask mandate. As of mid-May, less than half of all Baltimore City residents have been vaccinated with their first dose of vaccine, meaning that a majority of Baltimoreans remain vulnerable to the deadly effects of the novel coronavirus.  Additionally, the CDC’s announcement regarding vaccines comes at a time where robust methods to easily confirm whether individuals are vaccinated, do not yet exist. 

We know masking works. It has been proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Public health experts agree that disease transmission is much more likely in indoor spaces, especially when masks aren't worn.

Not easily knowing who is, and is not vaccinated complicates things. But the decision to wait until 65% of 18+ have received their first/single dose of vaccine means that, at least statistically, you are more likely to encounter someone who is vaccinated while indoors, than not.  65% is also the same benchmark the state reached when they lifted their mask mandate statewide, and we want to be consistent.