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Baltimore pushes closing time for restaurant dining rooms to 11 p.m.

Baltimore restaurants can now remain open until 11 p.m. under the city’s heightened coronavirus restrictions — one hour later than city officials initially announced last week.

In a news release Tuesday, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said indoor dining rooms will be limited to 25% capacity and must close by 11 p.m. That’s an expansion from the 10 p.m. closing time city officials initially laid out in response to rising coronavirus levels in the city.

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On Friday, Young announced Baltimore would be tightening capacity restrictions, shutting down bars that don’t serve food and requiring masks in all public spaces, indoors or out,

On Tuesday, the mayor’s office further clarified those restrictions, noting that bars that sell “packaged goods” such as beer to go can remain open for takeout. The new restrictions are effective Thursday.

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James Bentley, the mayor’s spokesman, said the change in restaurant hours represents a compromise.

“I think the mayor consulted with some of his small business task force and restaurant owners throughout the city and that was a middle ground they found,” Bentley said.

For seven consecutive days, Maryland has recorded at least 1,000 new COVID-19 infections. Health experts have warned the virus' molecules spread more easily inside, and that bars in particular pose a high risk for transmission.

The following rules go into effect in Baltimore on Thursday:

  • All indoor and outdoor facilities, including restaurants, theaters, malls, casinos, entertainment venues, event spaces and religious facilities, should not exceed 25% of their usual maximum capacity.
  • Bars that are not licensed to sell food may not serve drinks, however they can continue to sell alcohol to go.
  • Restaurants and other food service establishments must halt indoor dining by 11 p.m.
  • Gatherings at homes are limited to 10 people.

In addition to the capacity changes, Young ordered all city residents, beginning last week, to wear face coverings in all public spaces, inside or out. That order remains in place.

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