BALTIMORE (WJZ) — From Highlandtown to Fells Point, Baltimore restaurant owners feel like they’ve been hit the hardest throughout the pandemic.
Effective 5 p.m. on Friday, all indoor and outdoor dining will have to stop.
“I’m not happy about it,” Jesse Sandlin, Owner of Sally O’s in Highlandtown, said. ” I feel like outdoor dining is safe as long as you’re doing it the right way, like we are doing it the right way. We’re doing open-air (dining) trying to keep people as warm as possible.”
Patrick Russell owns Kooper’s Tavern in Fells Point. He said he paid nearly $30,000 for a tent that will now sit empty. He added he’s most worried about his workers.
“I’ve got 60 to 80 people who work for me; what are they going to do? It’s Kwanzaa, it’s Hanukkah, Christmas is here, the worst time of the year to not be able to have any hope,” Russell said.
Retail spaces can remain open but only at 25 percent capacity.
Beth Hawks owns Zelda’s Zen in Fells Point. She said she’s terrified that many of her neighbor’s businesses will not survive the pandemic. She added her business has also been slow.
“Terrified,” Hawks said. “Today is December 9 and my numbers are so low. Right now I should have a line.”
Jeni Wells manages a store in Baltimore. She said this holiday shopping season looks differently than years past.
“It was slow before, it’s going to get even more slow now,” she said. “But that’s a consequence of people being irresponsible.”
Mayor Brandon Scott’s executive order said the steps were taken to “prevent further exposure” and save lives. Some small business owners support the move.
“I’m surprised we weren’t shut down earlier than this when the numbers started spiking and it is a public health crisis; that’s what we have to wrap her head around,” Kat Dickinson, Owner of After Midnight, said.
In a statement, the Maryland Restaurant Association said:
“Restaurants are frustrated and angry that their livelihoods, and the livelihoods of their employees, have been taken away from them. Restaurants need significantly more financial relief to ensure that their employees can make ends meet and that the restaurant can continue to pay rent and be able to reopen fully when restrictions are lifted.”
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.