OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Ocean City restaurants are working with the town to offer safe, outdoor seating in time for the weekend.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that Maryland restaurants could open with outdoor dining Friday evening as he announced lifting more coronavirus restrictions as a part of his phase 1 reopening plan.
Prior to the governor’s announcement, the town of Ocean City was working on a step-by-step permit to allow for restaurants to reopen when the restrictions are lifted May 29 at 5 p.m.
“We know our restaurant community is anxious to reopen and we wanted to create an easy yet effective way for them to do so safely,” commented Ocean City Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville. “Any business or organization that wishes to expand beyond their existing site plan approval must complete the application online, receive approval from review agencies, and follow the State and CDC guidelines.”
The beach town’s officials have been working with the fire marshal’s office and the Worcester County Health Department to get business owners the permits needed to reopen.
Business owners must show their floor plans for seating, placement of handwashing stations and locations of restrooms as well as other items needed to reopen.
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The temporary permit for outdoor seating does not allow use of public ways including sidewalks, boardwalk, streets or the beach.
“This has been a team effort and is a great example of the innovation and collaboration of our community,” Mayor Rick Meehan stated. “Safety is always our first priority in Ocean City. With appropriate social distancing practices, adherence to the safety measures, and the commitment and cooperation of our restaurant operators who have always shown the initiative to be leaders in their industry, the Town of Ocean City believes that a safe reopening plan for outdoor dining can be implemented and enhance the safety of visitors throughout our community.”
On Wednesday night, Ocean City’s council voted to remove the tape and wooden boards that were put up on benches to promote social distancing.