ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore will shut down indoor and outdoor dining this week to fight the spread of COVID-19, as part of new restrictions announced Wednesday by the city's new mayor, and other jurisdictions in Maryland also are weighing limits as the state reached the highest number of hospitalizations from the virus during the pandemic.

The restrictions in Maryland's largest city will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m. Mayor Brandon Scott also announced that capacity at religious facilities, retail establishments and malls will be limited to 25% of maximum capacity. Fitness centers, casinos and museums also will be limited to 25% maximum capacity.

“Baltimore, we face some difficult days ahead and we must all do more to reduce the spread and transmission of COVID-19 in our city,” said Scott, a Democrat who was sworn into office a day earlier. “These restrictions today, while they may seem harsh, are being implemented to save lives and to reduce the stress on our medical system.

The revised guidelines limit restaurants to carry-out, delivery and drive-through service. Indoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to no more than 10 people in Baltimore. Outdoor gatherings at public and private facilities will be limited to no more than 25 persons.

The announcement came as the leaders of Maryland’s larger jurisdictions urged residents to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines in their jurisdictions and across the state.

The chief executive of Maryland's most populous jurisdiction has proposed added restrictions to the Montgomery County Council, including the closing of indoor dining, which would take effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Marc Elrich said a “bridge to safety” is needed until vaccines arrive and are widely available.

“We’re it folks," Elrich, a Democrat, said. "There’s nothing else but what we choose to do or not do that controls the spread of the virus.”

The city of Baltimore has had the fourth-highest number of confirmed cases with 26,897. Maryland's most populous counties in the suburbs of the nation's capital lead the state in cases. Prince George's County has 45,345 confirmed cases, and Montgomery County has had 37,194 cases. Baltimore County has had the third highest number of cases: 32,387.

Maryland reported Wednesday an increase of 2,692 cases from the previous day for a total of 222,653 cases in the state. There have been 4,801 deaths from the virus in Maryland, up 46 from Tuesday. There were also 1,715 hospitalizations due to the coronavirus, an increase of 62 from a day earlier and a record high in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan was asked if he was weighing more restrictions statewide. He said Tuesday that data about where the infections are coming from and what actions might help stop them are reviewed each day “and so far we've taken all the actions that we believe should be taken at this point.” However, the Republican governor noted that “there obviously may have to be additional actions as we progress.”

“But we're trying to balance saving lives and keeping people safe with also looking at the thousands of businesses that are closing and the hundreds of thousands of people that are unemployed, so we're trying to balance both the health and economic crisis,” Hogan said.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, a Democrat who is urging Hogan to take stronger statewide measures, said he plans to announce more restrictions Thursday for that county.

“I suspect that we’ll be continuing to talk to him about further actions at the state level, but for now each of us has to do what we believe has to be done in our counties, and it’s a little different in each place," Pittman said.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at and