Frederick County Taking A Pause On Reopenings

Restaurants, bars & other establishments will continue to operate a 50% capacity.


Frederick, Md (KM) Restaurants, bars, social clubs, wedding venues and other food services establishments in Frederick County will continue to be operated at 50% of capacity. At a Monday public information briefing, County Executive Jan Gardner announced that the number of COVID-19 cases are too high to allow these businesses to operate at 75% of capacity.

“On Saturday of this past weekend, we recorded 45 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day,” Gardner says. “That is the largest one-day increase we’ve seen in the last 30 days.”

She says there are almost 4,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 268 new cases in the past two weeks. There are currently 122 local deaths from COVID-19.

Last Friday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that restaurants, bars and other eating establishments can begin operating at 75% of capacity beginning on Monday, September 21st at 5:00 PM. But each county is given authority to slow down or roll back any openings if local conditions are not favorable.

Gardner said metrics have changed. She says she would like the county’s average to be less than ten per 100, 000 population. “So as of this morning, the rate of new cases in Frederick County is approaching ten. It is 9.85 per 100,000 of population over a seven-day rolling average. So that is a significant increase from where we were just a couple of weeks ago,” says Gardner.

“Frederick County is now faring worse, in fact, than some our larger county neighbors, including Howard County and Montgomery County on the rate of new cases,” she says. “Howard is at 7.41 {per 100,000 population} and Montgomery is at 9.12  {per 100,000 population}.”

“Now it makes sense to take a pause on the expansion of openings until our case numbers stabilize and hopefully decline,” says Gardner. “In the interim, I will continue to consult with public health officials, our municipal leaders, and the restaurant industry itself to make a thoughtful and database decision about the weeks ahead.”

Earlier this year, restaurants in the state were closed to indoor  due to the coronavirus. But were allowed to offer take out and delivery. The restrictions were relaxed later on,  allowing food service establishments to open at 50% of capacity with the proper  precautions, such as social distancing,  and customers and employees wearing masks or  face coverings.

County Executive Gardner says she concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected restaurant and the  hospitality industry. “Our county’s Office of Economic Development is currently working on a grant program to provide for outdoor heaters, and for the fuel for those heaters, which would allow restaurants to extend outdoor dining options a bit longer into the cooler weather,” she says. “So we’ll be announcing the details of that soon..”



By Kevin McManus