In letter to Governor, organizations plead for easing restrictions on restaurants

MARYLAND – Nearly two dozen organizations have sent a second letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, asking him to ease restrictions for restaurants in the state.

“we really want to get the train rolling a little further on the tracks,” Susan Jones, with the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association said. Jones joined nearly two dozen other organizations in penning that letter to the Governor, pleading with him to make some changes.

“Let’s start to reopen the capacities and move them back up to 75%,” Bill Chambers, with the Salisbury-Area Chamber of Commerce, who was also behind the letter, said.

Along with asking for increased capacity limits, the letter asked for increasing seating at tables to at least ten people and to allow restaurants to put plexiglass barriers between booths.

“If you have a booth that is back to back and you put a physical barrier at the top of the booth, you now have separation between you and the next booth,” Jones explained.

Chambers says the governor needs to take immediate action on these changes. He says the help restaurants have gotten to date is just keeping them barely afloat.

“All of the relief money, while it is very much appreciated, has kept many businesses open that would have failed, but nobody is making money,” he said.

John Fager, the owner of Fager’s Island, says while he backed the letter because any help could make a difference, he’s worried even these changes may not do much.

“I think it’ll help a little bit, but it’s not going to be a game changer,” Fager said. “I think the letter is too little too late and it’s half measures.”

But Chambers says at this point, even if these changes won’t fix every problem, it’s time to get the ball rolling.

“We’re hoping soon, this week, hopefully, the governor will say ‘Yep let’s go to 75%, yep, let’s do barriers like other states with local authority to approve it, and let’s get our restaurants back in business,'” Chambers said.

In the letter, the organizations also asked the Governor to allow buffet style restaurants to reopen, as they’ve been closed for nearly a year now. We did reach out to the governor’s office for comment but we have not yet heard back.

Categories: Local News, Maryland