Rep. Andy Harris tours Eastern Shore, advocates for opening outdoor restaurant seating

SALISBURY, Md. – Congressman Andy Harris spent the day touring restaurants on the Eastern Shore, letting them know he supports them reopening for outdoor seating. “Every day this drags on the higher likelihood that some of our small business owners, especially the restaurant owners, are just going to close their doors forever,” said Congressman Harris.

Congressman Harris met with local leaders at Brew River Thursday. They discussed calling on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to allow restaurants to reopen outdoor seating. Brew River and Harpoon Hanna’s owner Wes Hanna says that he appreciates the support. “We are just looking for some direction, some hope, and we’re just disappointed. We feel like we’ve done everything they’ve asked,” said Hanna.

Congressman Harris says that it’s up to individuals to consider their own risk factors if and when restaurants can reopen. He also says that people should try to do their best when social distancing situations where it’s not easy. “People should maintain social distancing. I think there’s some element of personal responsibility if we go head and educate people. Everyone will be safer if they do that,” said Congressman Harris.

Hanna says he agrees, and believes that outdoor seating allows people to safely enjoy eating out. “Follow the guidelines, and present a safe environment for everybody. Obviously if you’re more at risk you need to make that decision yourself, but we’re ready to do it the right way,” said Hanna.

During the meeting, Congressman Harris told Hanna that if the governor allows outdoor seating, he’ll push hard for indoor seating as well. “All the owners I’ve met with have said they’re willing to comply with guidelines, so let’s go ahead and do it,” said Congressman Harris.

Looking ahead to Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City, the congressman tells 47ABC that people are responsible for themselves when it comes to social distancing. He also says that Ocean City restaurants are losing out on a big opportunity by having to keep their doors closed.

Congressman Harris also applauded comptroller Peter Franchot’s recent comments on the need for reopening the economy. He says that businesses should be able to fully reopen if they follow CDC guidelines. 47ABC did reach out to Governor Hogan’s office for comment – but did not hear back.

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