Eastern Shore restaurants: “75% capacity increase doesn’t help us”

SALISBURY, Md. – The impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on restaurants here on the Eastern Shore has been like no other.

“We’re about 50% down for the year, we’re also at 50% less employees than we had when we closed in March,” said Market Street Inn owner, Rob Mulford.

And with Governor Larry Hogan’s recent announcement that restaurants in the state can up their indoor capacity from 50 to 75%, you’d think business owners would be excited. But when they learned of the change, this was more of their reaction:

“75% capacity means absolutely zero,” said Mulford.

Local restaurant owners tell 47 ABC unless you’re a business that has a lot of space, adding more people indoors is nearly impossible.

“Most of these places are filled out to the max while still maintaining the six foot distancing, 75% frankly does nothing for our restaurants,” said owner and founder of Southern Boys Concepts and Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Tom Knorr.

“We’re not even at 50% capacity with the spacing, to be honest we’re like 45%,” said Mulford.

Tom Knorr, who own’s Sobo’s Wine Beerstro in Salisbury, says he’s keeping their doors closed until Governor Larry Hogan allows him to seat his full restaurant and bar, or until he sees changes in social distancing guidelines.

“At Sobo’s, by the time you take six feet from our bar to our booth area, it wipes out those tables,” said Knorr.

And while some restaurants are happy with the new indoor guidelines, these business owners are gearing up to face a whole new monster within the coming months.

“With the cold weather and the outside being closed down, now it becomes the real fight for survival,” said Mulford.

And until these restaurants find a better alternative they’ll be relying on the community for help.

“Everybody just keep supporting like everybody’s been doing and we’ll all claw our way to the end,” said Mulford.

In a statement regarding the decision to increase the indoor capacity in restaurants, Governor Larry Hogan said, “As we continue with the third and final stage of our recovery, I want to commend our state’s restaurant industry for their incredible resilience this year and for their continued commitment to the health and safety of Marylanders.”

Categories: Local News, Maryland