BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan announced restaurants can reopen their outdoor seating areas to customers, a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t help everyone.

The opportunity to open outdoor seating areas has been a minor reprieve for some local restaurants, but unfortunately, it’s a luxury not every restaurant shares.

At the intersection of Boston and Aliceanna streets sits a Canton landmark. Sip & Bite, a new age diner with a heavy Greek influence, has been a staple in the community since 1948.

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“This is our livelihood, day in, day out. This is our first child, we say that all the time,” Sofia Vasiliades, of Sip & Bite, said.

But as restaurants around them begin to reopen, they are being left behind, unable to welcome sit-down diners due to their lack of outdoor seating.

“I’m not able to do that, we don’t really have the space,” Vasiliades said.

Gov. Hogan is allowing restaurants with outdoor seating the ability to open those areas to customers.

Vasiliades said she is happy for those establishments, but she wants the state to allow her to welcome guests as well.

“It would be great if the governor said, ‘All right, let’s do 50 percent. You guys can have 50 percent, come sit inside dining.’ It would be nice,” she said.

Until then, they are forced to rely on takeout orders to survive. It’s something that’s becoming increasingly difficult, with delivery services taking a percentage, and food cost rising.

“You can imagine a restaurant or small business having to deal with those price increases as well. It hurt, it hurt us bad,” Vasiliades said.

Still, they’ve made it 72 years, and Sofia is confident they’ll make it through this.

“We will get through this, somehow, someway. But we would like a little bit of, that extra boost from the governor or the mayor to help us out a little bit,” Vasiliades said.

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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