BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced the city’s Outdoor Dining Program will be extended.

Denzel Richards, Owner of Denzel Shark Bar and Grill said he put a lot of hard work into his outdoor patio – and he’s excited it’s here to stay for a little longer.

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“I think more people will feel more relaxed safer outdoors,” said Richards.

The city is extending its outdoor dining street closure and seating program that allows restaurants and bars to use sidewalks and streets for table service – as long as they have a permit.

“We know that our small businesses and restaurants are the backbones of our city and our economy, employing residents but also providing some of that deep rich culture that we love here in Baltimore,” said Mayor Scott.

Over the past year, parking spaces have been transformed into “park-lets” after the pandemic forced restaurants to shut down indoor dining.

“I like it a lot I think a lot of people like it and it should be extended for sure,” said Issac Klein, a Fells Point Neighbor.

City leaders said the creative spaces were a lifeline as restaurants struggled to make ends meet.

“The pandemic showed us what was possible – the willingness to transform public realms into open-air spaces that could be used by people to safely gather, exercise, and dine with social distancing, “said Shelonda Stokes, President of the Downtown Partnership.

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Although they remain a temporary fix, many hope they will soon become permanent.

“Even if they remove all of the requirements for COVID indoors, I think on days like today especially, people really like the outdoors on a nice sunny day,” said Klein.

The Mayor said he plans on waiving fees for permits during the pandemic.

Harford county said they will also be extending its outdoor dining program. Anne Arundel County is set to meet about it on May 20 at 9 a.m.

Applicants may apply for the Outdoor Seating Relief Program by visiting the City’s e-permits website.

Questions regarding this permit can be directed to the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development at DHCD.Permits@baltimorecity.gov.

Applicants should submit a request online for the Outdoor Dining Street Closure Program by filling out the online form below and submitting it to BCDOT’s Special Events Division.

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Approval information will be provided within 7 business days. Questions regarding this permit can be emailed to SpecialEvents@baltimorecity.gov.

Kelsey Kushner