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Parts of Charles Street to be closed to drivers to expand outdoor dining, shopping during pandemic

Portions of Charles Street are going to be closed on Saturday for a “pedestrian takeover," allowing for expanded outdoor shopping and dining amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore helped orchestrate the “Charles Street Promenade” that closes portions of Charles Street from Saratoga Street to North Avenue from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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People will be able to shop and eat at numerous places along the street including Brewers Art, Homeslyce, Mick O’Sheas, Aloha Sushi and Tapas Teatro, the partnership said in a news release. Mount Vernon Place will also offer free fitness classes.

Public health experts have said outdoor dining is safer than eating inside because of the lower risk of transmission for the coronavirus. Many Baltimore restaurants adjusted their operation to accommodate expanded outdoor dining in response to the pandemic. The move to close Charles Street to motorists is similar to strategy officials used in Fells Point in July to expand outdoor seating.

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Dining and shopping in the city still remains at 50% capacity under orders from Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, even though other surrounding jurisdictions moved to 75% after Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state was entering Phase 3 of his coronavirus reopening plan.

Several other organizations worked with the partnership to close the street including the Central Baltimore Partnership, Historic Charles Street Association, Midtown Community Benefits District, Mt. Vernon Belvedere Association and the Mt. Vernon Place Conservancy.

Though the promenade doesn’t start until 9 a.m., the street will be closed starting two hours earlier, the partnership said. The Interstate 83 ramp will remain open, with access from Mount Royal to Charles and several along cross streets will stay open for neighborhood traffic. Officers will be stationed at intersections throughout the day to help with traffic.

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