Friday, January 22, 2021
Phil Yacuboski, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
Baltimore City has given the OK to reopening restaurants and bars, but some argue that it is still not enough to keep them profitable.
"Twenty-five percent, unfortunately the numbers just don't work," said Rob Frisch, co-owner of the mountain. Washington Tavern. "And the one-hour dining window makes no sense to us."
Earlier this week, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced that restaurants and bars with a capacity of 25% for indoor dining and 50% for outdoor dining could reopen as long as customers are idle within an hour.
Scott closed restaurants six weeks ago, the day after he took office. His predecessor, Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young, closed down bars where no food was served.
The co-owners of the mountain. The Washington Tavern said that between ordering groceries for customers and running a low take-out business, dine-in would only be profitable if restrictions were eased even further.
"It's easier to run it 100% than those smaller percentages," said Dave Lichty, co-owner of the Mount Washington Tavern. "100% we can make this place like there is no tomorrow, but when you have to have a certain number of employees and you really don't know how much food to buy. Products have to come every day, fresh produce, fresh seafood . "
Both Frisch and Lichty said that with the winter months and snow forecasted, alfresco dining wasn't working. They were able to get funding from the federal government's paycheck protection program, but their 70 employees remain unemployed for the time being.
"We have over 400 years of joint tenure among our employees," said Frisch, "and it breaks our hearts that they are not working."
Both said the financial losses for them had been devastating – in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"This is a quiet time of the year, but when we get into spring this is our time to get started with degrees, preakness and all that lacrosse here," said Lichty. "We should prepare now and not sit at home wondering what we are doing tomorrow."
Owners said they hope the city will make a decision soon so that they can reopen and get back to business with higher capacity.
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