ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — As businesses remain closed across Maryland, many shop owners are wondering what restrictions will be in place when they’re finally able to open their doors.

A few business owners in Annapolis are trying to make sure they have the best chance of surviving, when that time comes.

Lisa Bolter, the Co-Owner of the Red Red Wine Bar, said since closing their doors on March 15, their focus has been on one thing.

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“All of our thoughts, all of our ideas, all of our sleepless nights are about how do we reopen and what that’s going to look like for us,” Bolter explained.

One thing that seems all but certain is that restrictions will be in place when many businesses do reopen.

“The idea of opening at 40 percent is a little scarier than not being open,” Bolter said.

That’s because the money they would make wouldn’t cover the expense of being open.

To compensate, Bolter isn’t just thinking outside the box, she’s thinking outside the building.

She would like to shut down Main Street, in Annapolis, for a few hours each night to allow them to put tables outside.

“Depending on who you are, and where you are, that could give you up to 10 extra seats, that makes up for a huge difference,” Bolter said.

This Isn’t just for restaurants.

Fern Elliot thinks it would be beneficial for her boutique, Lilac Bijoux.

“I would love to put some racks out there,” Elliot said. “People would probably feel safer to walk to it and look at it and have more space for everyone.”

A petition started in favor of the idea. It garnered 500 signatures in just 24 hours.

The city already shuts down West Street on Wednesday nights in the summer for “Dining Under the Stars.”

The idea of allowing other streets to do the same is an idea the newly created Small Business recovery task force can get behind.

“It’s the kind of event I could possibly be a drawl, to bring people to the city, so it’s definitely something that could happen,” Stephen Rice, the city’s Economic Development Manager and Co-Chair of the Committee, said.

In total, that committee is made up of nearly four dozen people from various backgrounds.

They will be working with business owners to try to get things back to normal as soon as possible, while seeking help from the local state and federal governments.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher

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