The city of Baltimore doesn't plan to follow Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's lead in scaling back COVID-19 restrictions beginning Friday.
A spokesperson for Democratic Mayor Brandon Scott said it was too early to make such a move, The Hill reported Thursday.
"The numbers and public health indicators clearly do not warrant a reopening at the Governor’s pace at this time," Stefanie Mavronis said. "The Mayor remains confident in Baltimore’s authority to maintain the common sense, local public health mandates currently in place as we continue to navigate this pandemic."
Hogan on Tuesday announced he was lifting capacity restrictions on stores and restaurants in the state, though local governments are not mandated to follow the state. The measure takes effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
Still, Hogan said, "my advice is that they should follow the state guidance and get in line," according to Baltimore Brew.
"Baltimore will continue to lean on the direction of healthcare professionals and local data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths and new cases to shape reopening efforts in Baltimore," Scott said at the time.
Baltimore would continue its plan to restrict indoor dining to 25% capacity and outdoor dining to 50% capacity. Religious institutions, gyms and retail shops are currently restricted to 25% capacity as well, so would remain at that level.
Hogan's statewide order would allow full capacity for all such establishments, though a mask mandate will remain in effect. Also under Hogan's order, patrons cannot stand at a crowded bar, and physical distancing must be maintained.
Large outdoor and indoor venues can operate at 50% capacity with masks and physical distancing in place. And medical adult day care centers can open with proper safety measures in place.
Quarantine requirements for out-of-state travel will be lifted statewide, though the state's travel advisory will remain and residents will be encouraged to be tested for COVID-19 after traveling out-of-state.
Baltimore's neighboring counties plan to go along with the state's plan, according to The Hill.
Baltimore County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County all said on Thursday that restaurants and bars, retail establishments, religious institutions and casinoswill be allowed to open at full capacity on Friday at 5 p.m.
Officials in Montgomery County, the state's most populous and a suburb of Washington, D.C., plans to announce its decision on Friday.
The state's other major D.C. suburb, Prince George's County, will raise capacity limits from 25% to 50%, according to The Hill.
Baltimore Brew reported that Hogan and Scott, along with other local officials, have been under pressure to relax the rules for economic reasons, and critics accused Hogan of bowing to pressure just ahead of the St. Patrick's Day weekend.
Some praised Hogan, however, saying the move would provide a much needed shot in the economic arm for the state.
"Our health metrics are great, and it’s time to get our economy going," Hogan said, pointing to several declines in several metrics in the state, including hospitalizations.
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