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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Mark Reutter11:09 amMay 20, 20200

Baltimore’s mayor cancels all large public events through August 31

“Until we can see some type of downward turn, all that is canceled,” says Mayor Jack Young in a surprise announcement this morning. UPDATED.

Above: Last year’s “Let’s Build a Big Campfire” event at Artscape. Scheduled to be held on July 17-19, the event has been annulled. (BOPA)

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced today that all public events with more than 250 participants will be canceled through August 31.

Cancellations will include such popular summer gatherings as the Artscape festival at Mount Royal-Midtown, AFRAM at Druid Hill Park, and the Fourth of July fireworks at the Inner Harbor.

With Covid-19 cases continuing to spike upwards – the latest number of confirmed cases in the city was 4,152 – “at the consultation with our public health experts, we believe this is the best move for the health of our city and its residents,” Young said in a brief statement at his Wednesday press availability.

He later elaborated on the cancellation order, saying it “includes fireworks, it includes the Artscape, also it includes the AFRAM. Everything. Until we can see some type of downward turn, all that is canceled.”

Threshold of 250

Event permits of any size will be cancelled between now and May 31 through the Memorial Day weekend.

Events between June 1 and August 31 that require a city permit will be limited to less than 250 participants.

That includes park permits for private and public events, hosted park events, and special events requiring a Department of Transportation (DOT) permit.

Larger events already planned for the summer – canceled under today’s order – will not be rescheduled in 2020. “But the city will strive to make accommodations for 2021,” the mayor’s office said.

Restaurants Can’t Reopen

Responding to a proposal by some Little Italy restaurant owners for outdoor sit-down dining, Young said, “We gotta make sure the health professionals weigh in on that. I don’t want people constantly to get sick. We don’t want people to constantly die, either.”

“I don’t want people constantly to get sick. We don’t want people to constantly die, either”  – Mayor Young.

“No one wants to open up faster than I do,” he continued before cautioning, “Right now, the Governor haven’t lifted his order as it relates to restaurants. So if they open [for other than carry-out], they’re breaking the law.”

Stay at Home

He reiterated that city residents will remain under strict stay-at-home orders, except for “essential workers” and for necessary trips to grocery stores, pharmacies or to handle medical emergencies.

Anyone who goes outside or appears in public spaces is required to wear a face mask, according to Young.

The mayor said he was “open to” taking a second look at his decision to scrub the summer events. But he said it would based on “the data” and assurances from health professionals that the public would be safe from the coronavirus infection, which transmits easily in crowds.

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