Restaurants open to what seems “100%,” but are still dealing with major restrictions

MARYLAND – At five p.m. on Friday, per Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement on Tuesday, restaurants were able to open to 100% capacity. However with the re-opening, there are still some major restrictions.

Restaurants managers and owners tell 47 ABC, it has been such a long year and all they’ve wanted is to be open to 100%. However, even with this lift on capacity restrictions, many say they are still concerned about the other restrictions still in place. “With that criteria, it’s impossible to be more than 50% you’re lucky if you can get the 50% at any restaurant,” says John Fager, owner of Fager’s Island in Ocean City, MD.

Restaurants owners say they’ve been begging to go back to 100%, they said they just didn’t realize it would come with so many restrictions. These restrictions include, distanced seating, masks, plexi-glasses placed between booths, and keeping customers seated at all times. Rob Mulford, owner or Market Street in says, “Regardless, being the owner and trying to adhere to everything is a challenge.” Mulford says this past year has been difficult, between staff shortages, lower inventory and limited seating, all restaurants have experienced this difficulty.

“What we need is to have the restrictions lifted, the masks mandate lifted and become a mask recommendation,” says Fager. The initial announcement seemed like a dream come true for local restaurants, but knowing they have to work with the same restrictions is what they say, is a slap in the face.

Mulford says the worst part is, customers don’t understand why they can’t physically seat their restaurant to a full 100%. “When you hear 100% capacity people hear what they want to hear and they don’t even bother to read into it so it’s going to be very frustrating this weekend,” adds Mulford.

Although it sounds like a great idea, a lot of restaurants can’t necessarily handle 100% at the moment, and wish they could have worked back into it with lower restrictions. “I wish that the 100% opening did have an impact but the fact is, is doesn’t. So it’s almost a cruel joke in a way,” says Fager. Mulford also says, “I wish it would have just been consulted more and ask the people in the restaurant, just don’t say 100% capacity because that is 100% false.”

Mulford says he does tip his hat off to the Governor for finding ways to help restaurants make extra revenue with take-out of alcoholic beverages. However, he says this is going to be a difficult time for all restaurants as they again, re-adjust. Restaurant owners also want to remind customers to continue being patient with them, because as these restrictions are still in place, it will prohibit them from being fully open to 100%.

Categories: Business, Local News, Maryland