Delta Variant Spurs a Return to Mandated Masking at Baltimore Circuit Court

Baltimore City Circuit Court will again require masks for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated as of Aug. 9. The changes come per an administrative order issued by Maryland Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary E. Barbera.

The new rules mark a departure from a previous administrative order that went into effect on July 1, which made masks optional for vaccinated individuals.

Now, in addition to temperature screening and recording contact information, the court will again require masks to be worn within the courthouse. 

Judge Barbera’s order cited new CDC guidelines that advised localities with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission rates to mandate indoor masking, even for those who are vaccinated. COVID-19 transmission is currently substantial in Baltimore.

According to the order, individuals are only allowed to lower their masks if alone in a room with the door closed.

Those found non-compliant “shall be subject to removal from the courthouse or judicial facility” and could face “disciplinary action.”

The changes come amid a nationwide surge of Delta variant COVID-19 cases. Over the past week, Baltimore City has seen 427 new cases, 12 new hospitalizations, and zero new deaths, according to City Government statistics. 

The courthouse mandate went into effect on the same day as Baltimore City’s universal indoor masking rules.  

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott had previously lifted the citywide mask mandate on July 1.