BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced he will lift more COVID restrictions for the city starting Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 a.m.

The one-hour time limit for patrons at the city’s bars and restaurants will lift at that time. Dining capacity remains at 25% indoors and 50% outdoors.

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“I’m glad that it’s been lifted, definitely,” Dylan Salmon, Owner of Dylan’s Oyster Cellar in Hampden, said.

Salmon said the time limit wasn’t an easy adjustment.

“For the hospitality industry, it’s really not our style to come up and say, look you guys got to go. So that’s been a challenge for sure,” he said.

“The more butts that we can get in seats, the more opportunity that those sit-down restaurants will have to survive,” Keyia Yalcin, Owner of Fishnet, said.

Restaurants must continue to maintain a sign-in and sign-out sheet for patrons and staff.  All outdoor dining spaces must have open enclosures on all sides.

Also, instead of limiting gathering sizes by 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, the city will cap gatherings based on a percentage of the building’s relevant occupancy.

“I continue to be encouraged by the continuous downward trend we see in our numbers,” Mayor Scott said. “More than halfway through February, our new cases are down approximately 48%, deaths are down 6%, and our positivity rate is down 50%. I want to thank Baltimoreans for adhering to the public health guidelines and doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our city.”

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CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

Here are some other restriction changes:

  • Gym classes are permitted at 25% capacity or 10 people, whichever number is higher.
  • Live performances are permitted as long as performers wear masks and adhere to physical distancing.
  • Adult entertainment remains prohibited.
  • Organized amateur sports, including high school and recreational games, clinics, skill sessions, scrimmages and practices are permitted in accordance with dates and guidance from Baltimore Parks & Recs. Face coverings must be worn by all participants.
  • Tournaments and organized amateur sporting events with teams from outside of the state of Maryland are prohibited at this time.
  • Indoor sporting events are limited to 25% capacity as long as there are no more than 50 people in an activity area.

According to a press release from the city, “maximum occupancy” means:

  • 25% of the maximum occupancy load of the Facility under the applicable fire code as set forth on a certificate issued for the Facility by a local fire code official.
  • If no such certificate has been issued for the Facility by the local fire code official, the maximum occupancy of the Facility pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, and permits.

“Washing your hands, wearing a well-fitted, multi-layered face covering over your nose and mouth, and keeping your distance helps to limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “With the help of Baltimore City residents, by following these guidelines, we will continue to see our case rates go down and our hospitalizations decrease.”

This comes after the city, along with the state, continues to see a decrease in coronavirus-related numbers.

“Baltimore City continues to have one of the lowest positivity rates in the State but residents and visitors must remain vigilant,” Mayor Scott said. “Everyone must continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings if we want to continue to build on these gains and keep our community safe.”

Watch Below: Mayor Brandon Scott’s Full News Conference

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.