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Coronavirus

What is allowed in outdoor dining and what have Maryland’s local officials said about reopening restaurants?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced additional steps in his plan to reopen the state, including allowing jurisdictions to offer outdoor dining, beginning 5 p.m. Friday.

While the Republican governor once again placed power in the hands of local officials to make decisions on their respective jurisdictions, he outlined specific guidance for dining:

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These measures include:

  • Seating: Patrons are to be seated 6 feet away from one another, excluding households seated together. If possible, restaurants are urged to set aside special hours for vulnerable or at-risk customers.
  • No large parties: No more than six people may be seated at a table.
  • Sanitation: Restaurants are asked to frequently clean and disinfect facilities and every table after each use. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectants should be made available for employees and patrons. The use of menu boards and disposable menus is also urged. Touchless payment is also advised, when possible.
  • Staff safety precautions: Restaurants must screen their staff for fever before beginning shifts. Facial coverings and masks are required for staff when interacting with other employees and patrons.


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Here is what local officials are saying about their plans to move forward:

Baltimore City

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Thursday that the city will allow all restaurants that have permits for outdoor seating to begin serving meals outside at 5 p.m. Friday. Those without a permit can apply for one starting June 1.




Baltimore County

Restaurants already permitted for outdoor seating can open with alfresco dining beginning 5 p.m. Friday, County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said Thursday.


Anne Arundel County

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Restaurants and bars in Anne Arundel County can open with outdoor dining and select businesses can welcome customers in reduced capacities beginning 5 p.m. Friday, County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Thursday.

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Carroll County

Carroll County plans to permit outdoor dining at 5 p.m. Friday but encourages staff and visitors at restaurants to follow social distancing guidelines and to wear masks. County officials will also work with restaurant owners to open up new alfresco eating areas.


Howard County

In Howard County, restaurants will be allowed to open for outdoor seating at 5 p.m. Friday, County Executive Calvin Ball announced Thursday.

Harford County

Restaurants will be allowed to offer outside dining, beginning 5 p.m. Friday. County Executive Barry Glassman signed an executive order Thursday to allow restaurants to use some of their parking lots for alfresco dining.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Pamela Wood, Christina Tkacik, Alison Knezevich, Olivia Sanchez and James Whitlow contributed to this article.


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