By Amy Kawata

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City lifted more COVID-19 restrictions Friday morning.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced earlier this month he would increase capacity at some area businesses starting at 6 a.m. on March 26.

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Indoor dining was allowed to resume at 50% capacity and outdoor dining at 75%. Outdoor tents must be open on all four sides.

Also allowed to operate at 50% capacity are:

  • Religious institutions
  • Personal services facilities
  • Retailers and malls
  • Indoor recreation sites and establishments other than hookah and cigar lounges (which can operate retail portions of businesses at 50% capacity)
  • Outdoor recreation establishments
  • Fitness centers (classes will be limited to 10 participants or 25% capacity)
  • Casinos
  • Libraries/museums/zoos/aquariums

Theaters and outdoor entertainment venues will be allowed to live-stream performances. Indoor theaters will be limited to 50% capacity or 100 people.

The city plans to review health metrics more frequently — every two weeks instead of every four weeks — to make decisions about further reopening steps, Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said during a news conference on March 17.

“We now see the light at the end of this long journey, but we haven’t reached it yet,” Dr. Dzirasa said.

“While our data still shows some cause for concern and high amounts of community transmission, we’re beginning to pass important benchmarks toward our goal of seeing 80% of Baltimore City residents vaccinated,” she added.

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Starting next week, Rite Aid, Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System will also start mobile vaccine operations.

Gov. Hogan assured Marylanders this week there is hope on the horizon.

“The great news is that the supply is finally coming,” the governor said. “We’ve built an infrastructure that can put every single vaccine into someone’s arm.”

Despite that optimism, Mayor Scott said residents must stay vigilant. He warned if at any point the data warrants tighter restrictions, he will not hesitate to act.

“Now is not the time to act irresponsibly,” the mayor said. “That light is coming, but we have to walk cautiously toward that light at the end of the tunnel. I urge everyone to continue to do their part and follow the best practices.”

Baltimore City leaders said they plan to review key health metrics more frequently, every two weeks instead of the previous four, to make decisions about further reopening plans.

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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.