Amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced on Friday a series of new public health actions to help curb community spread of the virus.
Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15:
• Social gatherings limited: All social gatherings not associated with operating or patronizing a business establishment or otherwise subject to existing state orders will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
• Bars and restaurants will be required to close at midnight.
Effective Tuesday, November 17:
• Baltimore County organied youth recreational indoor and outdoor sports will be prohibited until further notice.
“Now is the time to take action. We need all our residents to take this dangerous spike seriously so that we can protect the health of everyone in our community and save lives,” Olszewski said. “We all want to get back to normal, we want to go about our lives without restrictions and we want our kids back in school, but none of that can happen unless we all do our part.”
As cases have spiked nationwide and across Maryland, Baltimore County has seen a significant increase in the rate of cases, positivity, and hospitalizations. The positivity rate in the County, which has increased 129 percent since Oct. 23, is now at 6.4 percent, and the case rate per 100,000 residents has increased over 158 percent to 27.6 per capita. Hospitalizations have increased over 120 percent since October 23 to the highest level in over five months.
While County officials have continued robust enforcement of state and local mask and social distancing requirements at bars, restaurants and retail establishments, contact tracing data has consistently shown that family and social gatherings also pose significant virus transmission risk.
As the holidays approach, residents are encouraged to avoid gatherings where asymptomatic individuals could unknowingly spread the virus to others.
Earlier this week, Olszewski committed $11.5 million in grant funding to provide supplies directly to Baltimore County Public School principals to help them prepare for eventual reopening. He also announced expanded support for restaurants. The County has also made millions in grant funds available to:
• Support small business payroll, operating, and rent expenses;
• Reimburse improvements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19;
• Assist chambers of commerce and business associations to support businesses;
• Provide direct funding to assist professional artists, musicians and performers.
In addition, the County has undertaken a number of efforts to support residents who have faced challenges due to the pandemic, including providing financial support to help residents avoid eviction and subsidies to help families access child care for school-aged children participating in remote learning.
The County and its partners, including Baltimore County Public Schools, have distributed more than 8 million meals since the start of the pandemic.