Frequently Asked Questions about the Baltimore COVID-19 Executive Orders

What are the new Executive Orders for Baltimore City?

This week, Mayor Young will sign an executive order restricting indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Additionally, Health Commissioner, Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, signed a health order requiring face coverings be worn by all residents over the age of 2, whenever they leave the house and cannot practice social distancing.

When did these new orders go into effect?

Friday, July 24th at 5:00 pm

Indoor Dining Executive Order Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are restaurants with outdoor seating still allowed to operate?

    • Socially distanced outdoor seating remains an option for customers. Customers will wear masks at all times unless they are seated and eating. Restaurants are to comply with all current executive order mandates around outdoor dining. 
       
  • What about carry-outs?

    • This Executive Order only restricts indoor seating. Customers are still allowed to frequent carry-outs or order takeout from their favorite restaurant. They just can’t dine indoors at that carry-out or restaurant.
       
  • How long will this restriction last?

    • For now, the City has put this restriction in place for at least two weeks, until August 7th. Further determinations on extending or revoking these restrictions will be based on reviewing data trends during this time period.
       
  • Does this law affect indoor gatherings in spaces that aren’t bars and restaurants?

    • No, this executive order only applies to bars and restaurants. Other establishments should continue to abide by applicable Baltimore City Phase 2 guidance.
       
  • What was the rationale that determined we needed to place restrictions on bars and restaurants, specifically?

    • Since Baltimore transitioned to Phase 2 on June 19th, Baltimore City has seen
      • An increase in cases- double what we were seeing prior to reopening.
      • A dramatic rise in cases in our residents under the age of 40.
      • A disproportionately high positivity rate in the Southeast part of the City.
    • We anticipated that reopening would come with an increase in cases, but all these data trends combined raises our level of concern and requires a re-evaluation of the openings allowed under Phase 2. 
    • In considering restrictions to indoor dining, the Baltimore City Health Department took into account several factors, including the number of bars and restaurants with indoor dining that have had to temporarily cease operations due to positive cases within their establishment in the past few weeks. Several cities and countries have reported stories of asymptomatic “super-spreaders” attending bars.  These individuals were later found to have infected dozens of other people in the course of a single evening. Tight, enclosed spaces with poor ventilation may allow the coronavirus to stay suspended in the air for hours at a time, creating opportunities for disease transmission beyond close proximity to an infected person which is exacerbated if social distancing is not being practiced. Out of an abundance of caution, we moved to outdoor-only dining for Baltimore City, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s risk assessment for dining during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mandatory Masks Health Order Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I wear a face-covering if I’m just walking down the street?

    • You should have a face covering on your person every time you go outside. You should wear your face covering if you are coming into close contact (less than 6 feet) with other people, and you can’t physically distance from them.
    • For example,  you are walking down the street, by yourself. If you can maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others at all times, or if there isn’t anyone else outside, you wouldn’t need to wear a mask. But, if you are walking down the street and there are a lot of people outside and on your chosen walking path, you should absolutely wear your face covering. Wearing a mask will protect you and others, if and when you are not able to properly social distance. 
    • In other words,  “It’s better to have a mask and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
       
  • How is this any different from the State of Maryland’s Executive Order on Face Coverings?

    • This is an expansion of the current statewide mask order, which requires face coverings be worn on public transportation, in certain outdoor public spaces, in restaurants, and in retail establishments. With this new health order in Baltimore, if you are around other people for any reason, in any setting, you should be wearing a face covering.
       
  • What are some examples of when to wear a face-covering?

    • “Going up the street/around the way”- Keep a face covering in a pocket or bag, put your mask on when you are around others
    • Outdoor solo exercise like walking your dog, running, biking solo, etc. Keep a face covering in a pocket or bag, put your mask on when around others
    • Outdoor team sports/contact sports-mask on!
    • Outdoor group fitness classes- mask on!
    • Grocery shopping- mask on!
    • Any indoor public space- mask on!
    • Outdoor gatherings with others- mask on!

 

  • Are masks required during outdoor youth sports practices and games?

    • Yes, face coverings are required for outdoor youth sports when social distancing cannot be maintained. However, individuals who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability are not required to wear a mask but must comply with social distancing. 

 

  • While I understand this Order is intended for guidance in outdoor spaces what is the guidance for masks in health clubs?

    •  Face coverings must be worn inside fitness centers at all times when a person is not engaging in vigorous exercise.  Face coverings may be removed only if a person is engaged in vigorous exercise and the placement of the exercise equipment and a person’s body while performing the vigorous exercise is such that social distancing (a distance of 6 feet or more between persons) can be achieved.   It is strongly encouraged that any vigorous exercise is done outside when possible.

 

  • Exceptions

    • ​​​Non-public schools, child care facilities ("daycares") and youth camps should continue to follow guidance concerning face coverings issued by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Health

    • DayCares

      • Per the Maryland State Department of Education: “When feasible, children age 5 years and older who can wear a cloth face-covering safely and consistently should wear a cloth face covering while in the child care center or family child care home in accordance with CDC guidance. There are a variety of strategies parents and child care providers can use to assist children with becoming comfortable wearing cloth face coverings. Parents are encouraged to practice these strategies at home to help their child become comfortable with wearing a cloth face-covering prior to the use of a cloth face-covering in the child care setting.