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Baltimore oyster bar Lee’s Pint & Shell to reduce crowds after being criticized by Councilman Zeke Cohen

People congregating outside Lee's Pint & Shell oyster bar to enjoy their carryout beverages. There were no outdoor tables on this side of the bar.
People congregating outside Lee's Pint & Shell oyster bar to enjoy their carryout beverages. There were no outdoor tables on this side of the bar. (Kenneth K. Lam)

The manager of Lee’s Pint & Shell in Canton said he has taken steps to reduce the crowds outside the restaurant after people on social media posted photos of people gathering in close proximity to one another.

The oyster and bourbon bar in Canton had been the subject of criticism on Facebook after some people commented about how crowds had gathered outside the restaurant this weekend.

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Last month, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order limiting crowd sizes in public places to 10 people or fewer, with noncompliance punishable by up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Councilman Zeke Cohen, who represents the surrounding neighborhoods, said he reached out to the business and the owner who said “he is placing blue tape 8 feet apart on the sidewalk and will monitor the crowds to insure they are social distancing.”

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Cohen also wrote that inspectors with the city’s liquor board “will be out there from now until 2AM reporting back every hour.”

People congregating outside Lee's Pint &and Shell bar to enjoy their carryout beverages Sunday. There were no outdoor tables on this side of the bar.
People congregating outside Lee's Pint &and Shell bar to enjoy their carryout beverages Sunday. There were no outdoor tables on this side of the bar. (Kenneth K. Lam)

“This is not exclusive to Lee’s,” Cohen wrote. “I’ve had this same conversation with other businesses.”

Lee’s manager Brian Eder said he took precautions to reduce crowd size once he realized how many more people were out walking around Sunday afternoon while the sun was out with temperatures in the mid-60s.

“With the weather being nice out, we’ve put tape out on the sidewalk to keep people 6 feet apart,” he said. The restaurant also adjusted the way they’re having people pick up food to go, and put up warning signs.

He said photos that have sparked anger on social media don’t give an accurate view of how far apart people are on the sidewalk.

Eder said police and members of the liquor board have visited the restaurant and found no violations.

Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge wrote in an email that an officer did investigate the location for a possible infraction, but that no violations were cited at the facility this weekend.

“Our first priority is to achieve voluntary compliance with the governor’s order. As such, an officer responded to that location and advised that there were less than 10 employees inside and patrons were outside waiting for service,” Eldridge wrote. “The officer also advised that a representative from the Liquor Board was there and no violations were noted.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.

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