stephanie rawlings-blake

*In Baltimore things appear to be getting back to “normal,” so on Sunday morning Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that she has lifted the curfew that has been in place across the city for five nights.

“Effective immediately, I have rescinded my order instituting a city-wide curfew,” she said in a statement. “My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary.”

It seems the move was made possible because protests on Saturday were smaller and more celebratory after Friday’s announcement that six officers would be charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

The emergency curfew, which required all citizens of Baltimore to stay indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., was put in place as civil unrest overtook West Baltimore in the wake of Gray’s death while in police custody last month. The curfew was set to expire at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

“My number one priority in instituting a curfew was to ensure the public peace, safety, health and welfare of Baltimore citizens,” Rawlings-Blake said. “It was not an easy decision, but one I felt was necessary to help our city restore calm.”

A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan said the Maryland National Guard will gradually draw down its presence in the city over the coming days.

Restaurant and bar owners cheered the decision, though one said he regretted it didn’t come earlier. Though bigger-than-normal crowds might flock to bars Sunday night to make up for lost time, economic damage has been done, said Patrick Russell, owner of Slainte and Kooper’s Tavern in Fells Point.

“How many people can you fit in your establishment to make up for five nights?” Russell told the Baltimore Sun. He estimated losing $40,000 in sales over the five nights the curfew was in place, “a staggering amount of money to lose in cash flow.”

In the meantime, the city’s ongoing curfew for youth remains in place.