xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Towson to close portion of Pennsylvania Avenue for outdoor weekend dining; parking meter enforcement to restart

Baltimore County will shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson on weekends throughout June, enabling several area restaurants to open up for outdoor dining service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Saturday, the portion of Pennsylvania Avenue between York Road and Washington Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the county announced Wednesday.

Advertisement

“This common-sense and innovative initiate is an important first step,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said in a statement. “We’ll continue working with communities across Baltimore County to help local businesses recover from this pandemic.”

The Towson Chamber of Commerce has been pushing for the street closures to try to recoup losses at area restaurants where indoor dining is still prohibited, following numerous other cities across the U.S., including in Baltimore’s Little Italy and Fells Point.

Advertisement

Charles Village Pub, Nacho Mama’s Towson, Slice NY Pizza Pasta & Grill, C&R Pub and The Point Towson will be able to serve patrons outdoors from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., as long as those customers adhere to state edicts of social distancing and wearing masks while not seated.

Public health experts have said al fresco dining is among the low-risk activities for spreading the coronavirus, as long as staff and patrons take steps to prevent spread. Restaurants must follow county and state guidelines to mitigate spreading the coronavirus by increasing sanitation of menus, tables and chairs between each use.

The new initiative adds to existing drive-thru, delivery, carryout and curbside pickup options at county restaurants.

“Any activity we can provide to these places that have been shut down over these last three months is welcome, particularly in the summer when we don’t have students” at the nearby Towson University and Goucher College, said County Councilman David Marks, who represents the Towson area.

The county expedited the process for restaurateurs to obtain temporary use permits for outdoor table service. Only restaurants that have a permit will be allowed to reopen outdoors. A county spokesman said the county is in preliminary conversations with other localities to expand outdoor dining and streets closures — dubbed “Seats on the Streets.”

Communities can submit a request for a temporary road closure permit online. Restaurateurs can also apply for outdoor dining permits on the county’s website.

“Our businesses are looking forward to seeing their customers and getting more of their employees back to work, while keeping people safe,” Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

The Pennsylvania Avenue closure may be extended beyond June, according to the county’s announcement.

County officials also announced that starting at 9 a.m. Friday, the county will begin enforcing infractions at county-operated parking meters. Baltimore County had temporarily suspended enforcement of violations at parking meters back in March.

For more information on the county’s COVID-19 response, go to baltimorecountymd.gov/coronavirus.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement