Baltimore city, county go separate ways on reopening

two-leaders-betterThe city of Baltimore and Baltimore County are taking different paths as most of Maryland moves into the third phase of the state’s coronavirus recovery plan.

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Wednesday that the city won’t immediately follow most of the state.

“We do not want to erase the gains we’ve made over the past month,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said at a news conference, local media outlets reported.

Young said he anticipates moving Baltimore into the second recovery phase next week, which would allow restaurants to expand their indoor dining capacity. He said additional details would be announced at a later time.

Hours later Wednesday, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that, effective Friday, the county will align with state actions to begin moving into a modified stage three plan, which will allow enclosed and outdoor theaters to reopen and retail and religious facilities to expand indoor capacity.

“Baltimore County has taken significant steps to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while gradually and safely reopening our economy,” Olszewski said. “Thanks to our efforts, and the efforts of county residents to protect themselves and their loved ones, we’ve seen continued progress.

Both the county executive and the mayor called on residents to continue following precautions of wearing masks and observing social distancing.

Young urged caution over the Labor Day weekend, saying it was not the time for large parties, cookouts, celebrations or religious events.

The two leaders’ announcements came a day after Gov. Larry Hogan announced all businesses in Maryland would be able to open later this week under phase three.

Movie theaters and performing arts centers will be able to open at 50% capacity beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Up to 100 people will be allowed at indoor venues, or 250 people at outdoor venues.

All retail stores as well as churches and houses of worship will be able to increase capacity from 50% to 75%.

Any local jurisdiction can decide not to open as much as the state plan allows.

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