ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said the state should “move as quickly as possible” to allow restaurants to set up outdoor seating to allow customers to dine at their establishments.
Franchot made his comments during a public works board meeting Wednesday morning, saying restaurants need some tools to help them remain open in the long run, the comptroller’s chief of staff Len Foxwell said.READ MORE: Jury Watches Interrogation Video In Murder Trial For Keith Smith, Who Blamed Panhandler For Wife's Death
Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic; the Restaurant Association of Maryland projects one in four restaurants will close permanently because of COVID-19.
Two well-known Baltimore restaurants, Ryleigh’s Oysters in Federal Hill and City Cafe in Mount Vernon, have already announced they will not reopen their doors.
- Trade Association: 25% Of Maryland Restaurants Likely To Permanently Close
- Baltimore Restaurant Owners Call For Outdoor ‘Curbside Plus’ Dining Plan To Stay Afloat During COVID-19 Pandemic
- After 20 Years, Ryleigh’s Oysters In Federal Hill Closing
- City Cafe In Mt. Vernon Closing Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
A number of restaurant owners in Little Italy are also calling on leaders to allow them to set up tables outside to allow for socially distant dining.READ MORE: Halethorpe Man Killed In Wrong-Way Crash In Jessup
Without it, some could be forced to close.
“In a few weeks, if we continue at this rate, they’ll be nothing left to save,” Sergio Vitali, Chef and Owner of Aldo’s Ristorante, told WJZ Tuesday.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said the city’s small business task force is working with restaurant owners but added orders at the state level don’t allow restaurants to reopen even with outdoor seating.
“If they open, they’re breaking the law,” Young said.MORE NEWS: Hallmark Channel Embraces John Harbaugh, Self-Described 'Hallmark Movie Guy'