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Mayor Scott, Health Commissioner Dzirasa Announce New Winter Testing Strategy

New Testing Site Announced at Zeta Center in Northwest Baltimore

(BALTIMORE – December 11, 2020) — Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa announced that the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is shifting to winter sites for COVID-19 testing. The City’s community-based testing will shift to a partially-indoor model beginning today at a brand new site: the Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging in Northwest Baltimore. The change comes as winter weather makes mobile testing more difficult, and will enable BCHD to continue community-based testing in cold-weather months.

“My administration is committed to providing Baltimore residents with a comprehensive COVID-19 response,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “That begins with the availability and accessibility of testing for all residents. Our new testing strategy allows the continuation of our community testing sites into the colder months ahead. We will continue to explore innovative and safe ways to expand testing across Baltimore City, and especially in our hardest-hit communities.”

Testing began at the Zeta Center today and will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Testing will continue next week at the Zeta Center, with walk-up availability from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Please check www.coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov, or BCHD’s social media pages for daily updates on public testing sites across the City, including changes in times or cancellations.

“I want to thank the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority – Alpha Zeta Chapter, the Maryland Department of Health, and our other partners for their help in standing up the testing site at the Zeta Center,” Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. “As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, our team continues to find creative ways to bring testing into our communities across the City.”

Mayor Scott was also joined at today’s press availability by Baltimore restaurant owners standing in solidarity with the City’s return to an amended Phase 1, which go into effect at 5 p.m. today.

Gregory Brown, co-owner of Land of Kush, Samantha Claassen, owner of Golden West Café, and Terrence Dickson, owner of Terra Café advocated for Baltimore residents to stay safe and take precautions given the severity of the pandemic. They encouraged Baltimoreans to support restaurants and local businesses by eating and shopping local for the holiday season, ordering carry out and delivery, purchasing gift cards, and tipping extra.

“I am glad to be joined by some of our restaurant owners this morning,” said Mayor Scott. “I urge all Baltimoreans to wrap their arms around our restaurant community by ordering food to go in this time when dining indoors and outdoors is not safe.”

“I’m here to share how anyone can help save restaurants and small businesses,” Samantha Claassen, owner of Golden West Café said. “Call your representatives in DC and demand that they pass COVID relief NOW. Get carry out, post photos and tag us so we know we are still making guests happy from afar. We all want to emerge from this one day with our favorite spaces still intact. So please wear a mask, choose kindness, and thank you for your support.”

“Thank you to all of our small businesses and to those who continue to support us,” said Terrence Dickson, owner of Terra Café. “It’s more than the products you buy. It’s about the lives you’re sustaining and the community you’re building. Small businesses are the key to a better Baltimore.”

“We want everyone to be safe so we can have an enjoyable Baltimore once again,” Gregory Brown, co-owner of Land of Kush said. “It’s not just about the business itself, it’s about supporting our employees and our Baltimore communities.”

For a full list of guidelines that go into effect today at 5 p.m., visit coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov.