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Baltimore County aligns COVID-19 restrictions completely with state Phase 1

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Johnny O

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced on May 28 that Baltimore County’s Phase 1 reopening would align with that of Maryland’s Phase 1 reopening.

Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. announced on Thursday the county will be moving into the State of Maryland’s complete stage one of the COVID-19 “Roadmap to Recovery”.

“Having made significant progress in the availability of testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment, we are prepared to take the next steps in safely reopening our economy. “Olszewski said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. “As we align with phase one of Maryland’s re-opening, we remind residents to continue practicing social distancing and encourage those who are high risk to stay at home.

“Moving forward, we’ll continue to make decisions based on the best information available and in the best interest of our residents.”

Olszewski will issue an executive order on Friday stating that effective Friday at 5 p.m., Baltimore County will take the following actions:

OUTDOOR DINING: Restaurants and social organizations, including American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs may begin to safely reopen for outdoor dining only. All establishments must follow strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association guidelines.

In accordance with state protocols, restaurants must:

  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

Restaurants already permitted for outdoor seating, may open in accordance with state guidance and restrictions.

To help ensure other County restaurants can open as quickly as possible, Baltimore County will be temporarily offering conditional approval for establishments to provide expanded outdoor table service on their premises.

Beginning Friday at 9 a.m., establishments can apply for outdoor table service at baltimorecountymd.gov/outdoortables.

The County will conditionally approve all applications upon submission, until further notice. Businesses must still follow all requirements of applicable Executive Orders, and requirements and guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities.

This temporary waiver of prior approval does not apply to the Tent Permit. For safety reasons, all tents must be approved in advance and businesses must have a valid tent permit prior to erecting tents or canopies.

Baltimore County will continue to work with communities to identify alternative and creative models including closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces and will announce next steps in the coming days.

DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATERS: may reopen with appropriate health and safety guidelines. Olszewski had previously called on the state of Maryland to allow Bengie’s Drive-in to reopen.

YOUTH SPORTS. In line with the state guidance, outdoor youth sports may resume, following all appropriate CDC guidelines and state requirements.

YOUTH DAY CAMPS. Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume in line with state requirements and guidance.

OUTDOOR POOLS. Outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines and in line with state requirements.

Additionally, County Executive Olszewski announced Baltimore County will align other requirements for retail, houses of worship, and barbershops with current state thresholds:

RETAIL STORES will be able to further reopen for in-store retail up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. This applies to all retail establishments outside of those considered essential under the state’s orders.

Curbside pickup and delivery remain strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions should remain in place. Shopping malls must continue to stay closed except for retail establishments that can be accessed from the outside.

BARBERSHOPS AND HAIR SALONS may further reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. They may operate by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.

Under state order, other personal services establishments must remain closed until further notice.

CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP may hold indoor religious services with up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. Outdoor and virtual services remain strongly encouraged.

Religious leaders should do everything possible to keep their congregants safe.

RESIDENTS ARE SAFER AT HOME: Residents should continue to stay home when possible. Older and more vulnerable residents, and those who live with them, are strongly advised to stay home whenever possible.

Residents and visitors should practice safe physical distancing and wear masks in public, and frequently wash their hands and sanitize high-touch areas. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so.

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