Baltimore to require face masks at all times, roll back indoor dining

Baltimore to require face masks at all times, roll back indoor dining
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Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young (D) on Wednesday ordered restaurants to suspend indoor dining by the end of the week and announced expanded requirements for face coverings as the city deals with a spike in coronavirus cases.

Young’s executive order will take effect Friday at 5 p.m. Among other things, it requires those over the age of 2 to wear face coverings in public settings where maintaining a distance of at least six feet is not possible. Those in the city are not required to wear masks in outdoor seating at restaurants.

"I have always stressed that my administration would continuously monitor the data related to COVID-19, and that I would not hesitate to tighten restrictions if the data indicated we should," Young said at a press conference. "Today, I am taking steps to help safeguard and protect our residents, business owners and their employees."

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As of Wednesday, the city has confirmed 9,600 cases of the novel coronavirus and 366 deaths. 

"These decisions were not easy, but are rooted in current data and trends we're seeing in COVID-19 cases in Baltimore city," Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said. "When considered together, this information warrants the implementation of restrictions to help halt the further spread of COVID-19."

On Tuesday, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that people in his county, which is adjacent to but does not encompass the city of Baltimore, will be required to wear a mask in public settings.