BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Although most of the state lifted capacity restrictions on restaurant dining, personal services, and more at 5 p.m. on Friday, Baltimore City officials said their capacity restrictions will remain.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott signed an executive order Friday to maintain current public health orders.

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While addressing residents, Scott said the city is still in the midst of the pandemic, although recent numbers look promising.

Baltimore officials have followed the numbers, he added, stating the city normally sees a spike following the holidays.

“We have consistently seen spikes and COVID-19 cases following holidays where people get together,” Scott said. “We know the weather is nice and we are all anxious to be together and to be out, but the pandemic isn’t over.”

Scott said he’s concerned about COVID-19 spreading with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations ahead. He promised he will revisit his decision on restrictions next week.

 

“It’s not the time to go bar hopping. It’s not the time to be reckless with your personal activity just because the weather is better, and it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” Scott said. “We know that can lead to people dying. You can literally kill someone you love by being irresponsible.”

 

This means in the city, indoor dining and retail will stay at 25 percent capacity and outdoor dining at 50 percent.

All of the counties surrounding Baltimore removed those capacity limits starting at 5 p.m. on Friday at the urging of Governor Larry Hogan.

 

The governor is keeping the mask order in effect and is banning people congregating at bars: All service must be seated.

The general manager of Pickles Pub told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren he is supportive of the mayor’s decision.

“We assume that there’s nothing malicious. Everybody’s trying to act in everybody’s best interest,” Pickles’ general manager Tom Leonard said. “We’re just following the guidelines that the city’s setting forth. We hoped for more. If something does happen when everything opens up, you don’t want to be the person that somebody can point a finger at.”

 

Pickles sits across the street from Camden Yards. The Orioles announced fans will soon be back in the seats starting Opening Day at 25 percent capacity, roughly 11,000 people.

 

“That’s more fans than were here last year for opening day. There’s brightness in the horizon,” Leonard said.

Scott said he is supportive of the Orioles’ decision and the team worked with the city health department on health and safety issues.

City officials continue to look at data to make their decisions about lifting restrictions, particularly the hospitalizations number.

Under the Executive Order, Baltimore’s existing local COVID-19 mandates remain in place:

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  • Gatherings: Gatherings will need to comply with any relevant capacity based upon the space in which they are located.
  • Religious Facilities: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
  • Retail Establishments and Malls: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
  • Indoor Recreational Establishments: All indoor recreation sites except hookah/cigar lounges will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
  • Outdoor Recreational Establishments: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
  • Organized Amateur Sports: Allowed with certain guidelines in place.
  • Fitness Centers: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy. Fitness classes are allowed — 10 person limit or 25 percent capacity, whichever is greater. Social distancing and masks required.
  • Casinos: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy. Dining areas allowed to reopen, following the requirements of food service establishments.
  • Libraries: Limited to 25 percent maximum occupancy.
  • Museums, Zoos, Aquariums: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
  • Foodservice Establishments: Outdoor dining can resume at 50 percent capacity. If space is tented, the tent needs to be open on all sides. Indoor dining can resume at 25 percent capacity. Bars without food licenses will also be allowed to reopen — 50 percent outdoors, 25 percent indoors.
    • The one-hour time limit is removed.
    •  Carry-out, delivery, and drive-through service may continue.
    • All foodservice establishments must keep a log of contact information for patrons and staff for contact tracing purposes.
  • Personal Services: Limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy.
    • Staff must wear face coverings at all times while indoors.
    • Services must be provided on an appointment-only basis, and a log must be kept of names of customers, staff providing services, and other residents who enter the shop.
  • Theaters and Outdoor Entertainment Venues: Live streaming of performances is allowed. Live entertainment is permitted as long as performers wear masks and adhere to social distancing.
    • Indoor theaters are limited to the lesser of 25 percent occupancy or 100 persons.
    • Outdoor entertainment venues are limited to the lesser of 25 percent occupancy or 250 persons.

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.