Comptroller Calls For Allowing Md. Restaurants To Serve Meals Outdoors

He says many small eateries are hurting due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Annapolis, Md (KM) Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and other citizens want a change to the Governor’s executive order requiring all restaurants to close to help slow the spread of COVID-19. He wants these eateries to be allowed to serve meals outside on balconies, patios or sidewalks. “And I think it gives an opportunity to give them a much needed, little bit of help to get through the next couple of months when they do open up……{and to make sure}  there are actually some restaurants there to open up,” he says.

In his executive order, Governor Larry Hogan ordered all restaurants and bars, where large numbers of people gather, to close as a way to help slow the spared of the coronavirus. However, they are allowed to provide curbside pickup and delivery services.

But Franchot says restaurants cannot survive any longer with curbside and takeout, and allowing them to serve meals outside will help. “In the midst of all this, because of the economic unemployment and damage to the small businesses like restaurant, this amendment right now would be a big, big help,” he says.

Going to a restaurant is more than just an eating experience. It’s a chance for people to socialize. Franchot says that can be done on the outside while patrons and staff practice social distancing. “You have to require people to wear masks, except when they’re eating. You have to ask people to wash their hands and protect their own families and themselves from being infected,” he says.

Franchot says many of these restaurants are hurting financially by not being open to serve patrons. “I’m all with the Governor and everybody who says we need to pay attention to health. But I’m also concerned about what I call an extinction affect which is showing on right now for small restaurants around the  state,” he says. “They’re literally being snuffed out. They will never come back and they will never open. And that is a tragedy.”

The Governor’s Office issued a statement which says Maryland’s Chief Executive will continue to monitor the situation, and will follow the plan outlined in the “Road Map To Recovery,” the plan put together to help the state recover from  the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


By Kevin McManus