Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday announced that Baltimore City will lift capacy restrictions at some businesses starting on May 17, but certain establishments will have to remain at 50% capacity. Image via Facebook Live.

Baltimore is set to lift pandemic-related capacity restrictions at most businesses — including restaurants and retail stores — at 6 a.m. on Monday May 17, the mayor has announced.

However, convention and banquet halls; movie theaters; indoor venues that host live performances and sporting events; and outdoor venues will still be operating at 50 percent capacity, city officials said.

“While we are easing some restrictions, we must still remain vigilant and guided by the public health recommendations,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “Particularly with summer approaching, we must continue to take COVID-19 very seriously.”

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said improving coronavirus metrics mean some restrictions can be lifted.

Increased vaccination rates have helped reduce the city’s new COVID-19 cases, deaths positivity rate, and hospitalizations, Dzirasa said.

“Vaccinations remain the key in returning to some sense of normalcy,” she said.

As of Wednesday, 40% of Baltimoreans have received at least one vaccine dose, while 31% of residents are fully vaccinated, Dzirasa said.

But city is striving to get at least 80% of Baltimore’s population vaccinated, which Dzirasa said will help avoid case surges in the fall and winter.

“We have a long way to go,” Scott said. “It is not time to claim victory or celebrate just yet.”

The city updated its coronavirus dashboard to show the percentage of residents in each ZIP code who are fully vaccinated.

The highest vaccination rates in Baltimore City are in these ZIP codes:

  • 21209 (including neighborhoods such as Mount Washington and Cheswolde)
  • 21210 (including neighborhoods such as Roland Park and Keswick)
  • 21211 (including neighborhoods such as Hampden and Woodberry)
  • 21230 (including neighborhoods such as South Baltimore and Pigtown)
  • 21231 (including neighborhoods such as Fells Point and Butcher’s Hill)

In each of those areas, between 42-54% of residents are fully vaccinated.

But other areas of Baltimore City have vaccination rates between 1-15%, including these ZIP codes:

  • 21223 (including neighborhoods such as Mount Clare and Poppleton)
  • 21225 (including neighborhoods such as Brooklyn)
  • 21226 (including neighborhoods such as Curtis Bay and Hawkins Point)
  • 21227 (including neighborhoods such as parts of Violetville)

Dzirasa said the health department will work with its partners to improve vaccine equity across the city.

People who need assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment can visit, or call 443-984-8650 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Baltimore City Health Department, in partnership with the Baltimore City Fire Department, on Tuesday began vaccinating homebound residents and their caregivers, who face difficulty getting vaccinated at a mass vaccination site, pharmacy, clinic, or other vaccine provider.

Eligible residents can sign up for the homebound vaccination program by visiting or by calling 410-396-2273.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday provided emergency use authorization for use of the Pfizer vaccine in people ages 12-15, and on Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will vote on the formal use in that age group.

Dzirasa said she anticipates the CDC will grant approval, which she said would be “another critical step in our vaccination efforts here in the city.”

“Vaccination in younger populations will help to slow COVID-19 disease transmission among the greater population,” she said.

Although healthy young people are less likely to be hospitalized or suffer severe disease from COVID-19, children with underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, sickle cell disease, genetic conditions, heart disease from birth, or a suppressed immune system face an increased risk of severe illness, Dzirasa said.

Vaccine doses for children ages 12-15 will likely go to pediatric providers, hospital partners, mass vaccination sites and schools, Dzirasa said.

Parents can visit or call 410-706-3000 for information about where to get their adolescent child vaccinated.

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