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Two Baltimore City restaurants suspend indoor dining, citing 25% capacity maximum and early curfew as reasons

Two Baltimore City restaurants are suspending indoor dining indefinitely, citing as reasons the early curfew and 25% maximum dining capacity implemented to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Gunther & Co. in Brewers Hill and Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Little Italy said in separate social media posts that it did not make sense from a business standpoint to continue operating normally. Both Southeast Baltimore restaurants plan on offering takeout options as well as repurposing indoor spaces for small reservations and events.

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“This Saturday evening will be our last service in this capacity until we can get closer to the vaccines on the horizon and we can welcome more of you safely back into our dining room,” Gunther & Co. said Friday in a Facebook post. “We believe this is the last hurdle we have to get through, and trust us - it is not IF we reopen, but WHEN we will reopen.”

At the beginning of November, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young reinstated stricter coronavirus measures that brought indoor and outdoor capacities down to 25% and ordered restaurants and other food service establishments to halt indoor dining by 10 p.m.

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The Democratic mayor was one of the first local leaders to tighten restrictions. Local leaders have the ability to implement firmer restrictions than what Gov. Larry Hogan has mandated at the state level. Currently, under the Republican governor’s orders, 50% capacity is allowed and a 10 p.m. closing time is also mandated at the state level.

Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano emphasized the need for Congress to pass legislation to allow restaurants to receive more money to help ease the financial impact of COVID-19.

“We’re not going anywhere, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Baltimore, our staff, our many guests and to a return to normalcy as soon as possible,” the restaurant wrote Tuesday in a news release on social media. “Sadly, due to inaction on the part of the federal government, small business owners across the country are forced to make agonizing decisions that directly impact our staff, our families, stakeholders like farmers and vendors and the community at large.”

The Little Italy restaurant said it will accept small reservations for indoor dining and plans to have a special menu of prepared foods for the holiday. Gunther & Co. said it also plans specialized menus as well as themed pop-ups and socially conscious gatherings.

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