ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Outdoor dining in public parking spaces and restaurant parking lots, two emergency measures enacted at the height of the pandemic, will end in Annapolis on Nov. 1, Mayor Gavin Buckley said Tuesday.
Buckley said the programs will be discontinued because the city is no longer under a state of emergency.READ MORE: First Alert Forecast: Severe Thunderstorms May Move Into The Area Monday
Since spring 2020, some downtown restaurants were permitted to build “parklettes” with seating in public parking spaces or put dining areas in private parking lots as part of the city’s Recovery Zones program.
In a statement, Buckley said that while he is in favor of the program and has received positive feedback, further action from the Annapolis City Council is needed to continue outdoor dining without the state of emergency order.
“The momentum on this issue seems to be on the side of it continuing,” he said. “The pandemic opened our eyes to the utility of it, but it turns out that lots of people think it is a cool thing to enjoy a meal out-of-doors.”
Buckley is the owner of four restaurants on West Street in Annapolis.READ MORE: Van Hollen Suffered Minor Stroke In Western Maryland Over The Weekend
Returning the parking spots to cars will also help local retailers during the holiday shopping season, the mayor’s office said.
“There is a delicate balance between a limited number of parking spaces and the needs of different kinds of businesses, especially in historic downtown,” Buckley’s office said.
Businesses with a sidewalk dining permit can continue to seat guests outside.
The council recently agreed to five lease agreements with restaurants in Market Space to allow them to continue outdoor dining after the Recover Zones program expires.MORE NEWS: Up To $16K Reward Offered For Tips About Murder Of East Baltimore Pregnant Woman And Fiancé
Annapolis is holding elections for the mayor and council on Nov. 2. The mayor and council will be inaugurated on Dec. 6.