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Baltimore lifts outdoor gathering ban; stadium events, other gatherings requiring permits still prohibited

A citywide ban on mass outdoor gatherings, enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been lifted, Baltimore officials announced Friday. However, stadium events and other large gatherings that require city permits are still prohibited.

Additionally, hotel ballrooms, banquet rooms, meeting halls, and other private indoor gathering spaces are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.

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The city lifted the restrictions as of 5 p.m. Friday in response to local schools and universities seeking to hold socially distanced graduation ceremonies, said Lester Davis, spokesman for Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.

“We have seen tremendous progress in our city with respect to our numbers, due in great part to the risk reduction efforts by our city and residents,” Young said in a news release.

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“This lifting of restrictions on mass gatherings is low risk if individuals continue to practice social distancing and other mitigation tactics, like wearing a face covering, but not without risk. Residents who choose to go out should still continue to do so safely.”

Large outdoor events that require a city permit are still banned, Davis said. The city previously announced that a ban on permitted events would continue through Aug. 31, effectively canceling the city’s Fourth of July fireworks and the annual Artscape festival.

Events at stadiums and conventions also remain prohibited. Davis said the city expects to make an announcement as early as next week with more specific guidance on large outdoor events.

Baltimore is in Phase 2 of its reopening process as officials have seen improvement in the number of coronavirus cases caused by the global pandemic.

All Maryland residents are required to wear face coverings inside retail establishments, including grocery stores and pharmacies, or when taking any form of public transportation, per Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order.

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