Md. restaurant industry wondering when they’ll be able to get vaccines
MARYLAND – As the COVID-19 vaccine makes its way through Maryland, the restaurant industry is asking when it will be their turn. Restaurant owners met with state and local leaders to talk about that. “I think what we would like to know is if there’s any model out there that takes into account vaccinations, the change in weather, and other things that give us a light at the end of the tunnel,” said President and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland Marshall Weston.
Weston says a key part of being able to move forward amid COVID-19 is prioritizing restaurant workers during Maryland’s vaccine rollout phases. “I think being able to say from a marketing standpoint that restaurant employees are vaccinated – that if we continue to have these protocols in place, I think will help get those who are nervous back out dining and supporting restaurants,” said Weston.
Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz says, of course, there is a high demand for the vaccine across all industries. But she likened vaccine roll out to when the first COVID-19 tests were getting in the hands of Marylanders. So, restaurant workers getting the vaccine sooner than later might be a future option. “I would assume that’s where we were with testing. As we get more of the supply and the product that there may be a shift in best practices,” said Secretary Schulz.
State Senator Mary Beth Carozza also weighed in. The state senator says she plans to advocate for more flexibility for local health departments with vaccine phases in the upcoming General Assembly legislative session. State Sen. Carozza says that kind of freedom would allow health departments to more easily decide who gets the vaccines first. “Once they finish one phase locally to just move into the next phase and not wait for the rest of the state. So we’ll give them a little more authority there,” said State Sen. Carozza.