Eating establishments can now increase capacity to 75% beginning at 5PM Friday, Oct. 2nd.
Frederick, Md (KM). When it comes to the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, there’s some good news to report in Frederick County. That’s according to County Executive Jan Gardner, who made that announcement during her Friday public information briefing.
“So today I’m pleased to report that that metric has significantly improved. We were at 7.16 yesterday, and I think our new number is going to 7.2. . So we made significant improvement and we’re moving in the right direction,” she said.
Gardner had previously said if the base rate had gone up to more than 10 per 100,000, she would bring back pull back many of these reopening measures.
However, these new statistics are good news for restaurant owners and patrons. “So because we’ve seen positive progress in our health metrics, I’m announcing a partial easing of the capacity limits. As of 5:00 PM today, the indoor dining sections of restaurants in Frederick County will be allowed to increase their capacity up to the 75% authorized by the Governor.”
Recently, Governor Larry Hogan announced that restaurants, bars and other food service venues could increase their capacity from 50% to 75%.
But Gardner said her executive order only covers indoor dining for restaurants. “It does not include bars, including bar areas in restaurants, or social clubs or wedding venues or other event venues,’ she said. “These locations have been identified as a higher risk for the spread of the virus. And we have had some issues with compliance.”
She also said her executive order covering indoor dining for restaurants will probably affect a small number of establishments. She says she met recently with a group of restaurant owners who say they can live with the 50% of capacity.
These restaurant owners say most patrons are interested in outdoor dining. So a new program has been initiated in the county to provide grants to local restaurants who want to continue outdoor dining even during the colder months. The money can be used to purchase outdoor heaters and fuel to power them.
Restaurants which are 800 square feet or less can receive up to $2700; those which are 801 square feet or more could receive $5,400. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 9th at 10:00 AM.
Interest restaurant owners can apply at FrederickCountyMD.gov/outdoor dining.
By Kevin McManus