BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Diners in Baltimore City will no longer have to adhere to a one-hour time limit as of Monday morning.

The restrictions were lifted at 6 a.m. Monday. Dining capacity remains at 25% indoors and 50% outdoors.

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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.

The easing of the restriction comes as Baltimore City’s COVID cases are down 60% and positivity rate is down 58% from one month ago, per Mayor Brandon Scott.

“For the industry, it’s hugely important,” Amicci’s manager Jody Baker said of the lifting of the one-hour dining restriction. “I mean, it’s pretty hard to get people fed and have a nice experience in an hour.”

Baltimore City, along with Montgomery Co. and Prince George’s Co., currently restrict indoor dining to 25% capacity. Other jurisdictions in the state allow 50% indoor dining capacity, in line with what the state allows.

Mayor Scott indicated there is no one metric to relax restrictions further, but he is happy with the trends.

“When we saw significant improvement, we relaxed restrictions in a significant manner. That is not an opportunity for people to be reckless,” Mayor Scott said Monday.

Baker of Amicci’s says the restaurant has increased its carryout and catering efforts. It is also renovating and adding an outdoor courtyard. She says they are following health metrics closely.

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“The owner, that’s the first thing he’s looking at every morning. Right after that, he’s looking at the bank account,” Baker said.

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Jimi Jefferson, the Food and Beverage Manager of Cindy Lou’s Fish House at Canopy by Hilton Baltimore Harbor Point, said they were excited to see restrictions lift. The restaurant opened in October in the midst of the pandemic.

“It was definitely challenging, but it also taught us that we can do anything,” Jefferson said. “… If you can survive this, you can survive anything.”

At a time when many restaurants are still relying heavily on take-out orders, Cindy Lou’s is focused on in-person dining.

“That was really hard for us because we were a new business… so when it came time for carryout, people are tending to go for their old favorite — we’re a new favorite,” Jefferson said.

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:

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  • 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.

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.