Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young on Friday announced that starting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 the city would be lowering the capacity of several businesses and other places to 25% in response to rising rates of new coronavirus cases in Baltimore City. Image via Facebook Live.

Baltimore City restaurants, retail stores, event spaces and other places will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity starting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young announced on Friday.

Young said that food service establishments, retail stores, malls, personal service establishments, event spaces, religious facilities, indoor and outdoor recreational establishments, fitness centers, theaters, outdoor entertainment venues, and the Horseshoe Casino will only be allowed to operate at 25% of their maximum capacity.

Food service establishments will also be required to close indoor dining operations at 10 p.m. each night.

Bars that are not licensed to serve food will have to close, Young said.

Young will also be limiting outdoor and indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people at public and private facilities, private homes, and any public space.

People are required to wear a mask whenever in public in Baltimore City, both indoors and outdoors.

“I am instituting these restrictions for the public health and to save lives in Baltimore City,” Young said.

The move comes as Baltimore City and other Maryland jurisdictions are seeing increases in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and positive test rates.

On Friday, Baltimore City reported an additional 214 coronavirus cases, bringing the city’s total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 18,824, according to the city’s COVID-19 data dashboard.

The seven-day average number of daily new cases for Baltimore City is 102.9. One month ago, on Oct. 6, that average was 62.1.

The city’s rate of positive coronavirus tests on Friday was 4.5%. The seven-day average positivity rate sat at 3.5%, up from 2.2% one month earlier.

“This data is alarming and requires action,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said during Young’s press conference on Friday.

Dzirasa said the city’s new orders “can change the direction of these trends,” but she added that those actions cannot replace the other precautions that residents need to be taking.

Dzirasa reminded Baltimoreans to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask over their nose and mouth, wash hands frequently, and stay home if they are not feeling well.

She also encouraged people to get tested for coronavirus as needed, and quarantine while awaiting results or until being cleared by a medical professional to be around others.

Heading into the winter holiday season, Dzirasa advised that people should only celebrate with members of their immediate household.

“Is Thanksgiving with all of your extended family worth the risk of putting an older loved one in the hospital? Is your Christmas morning spent together worth a New Year’s spent in the hospital,” she said.

Instead, Dzirasa suggested checking in with extended family via phone or video call.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday urged Marylanders to remain vigilant and continue taking precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including wearing masks.

“It’s not that hard,” Hogan said during a press conference. “Just wear the damn masks.”

Despite Hogan’s words of warning for Maryland, he did not institute any new restrictions.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at