BALTIMORE — It’s something you would never see on a Monday at 5:00p.m. at restaurants in Little Italy.
The chairs up, the dining room closed and essentially no customers allowed in.
It’s the new normal for bars and restaurants in Baltimore after Governor Larry Hogan announced bars, restaurants, gyms and others will have to close to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. “Takeout, delivery, and drive thru service will still be allowed,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
“It’s been a super surreal day,” said Sergio Vitale, the owner of Aldo’s Italian Restaurant.
Aldo’s owner Sergio Vitale says he and other restaurants have had to change their entire business models because of the governor’s mandate.
“Dining in is 99 percent of our business. So, it’s a bit of a whirlwind,” he said. “Nothing really quite compares to the magnitude of what we are seeing today.”
For the first time, Aldo’s is offering curbside delivery through Door Dash and Postmates to help offset the lost business. There are other businesses in Little Italy offering those options too.
A website called Little Italy Delivers was created to let customers know they’re options if they wanted to get food from a little Italy restaurant.
“Everybody is trying to support each other,” said Juniet Ozturk, one of the owners of Angel’s Pizzeria. “We are all in this together. We have no other option.”
Angel’s Pizzeria gets most of their business from dine in customers too. One of the owners Mert Ozturk is hoping an increase in takeout and delivery orders can help them get by.
“It might get better. It won’t be as much as we used to make business wise,” said Mert Ozturk. “So we will have to cut the hours. Unfortunately, we will have to do that.”
Vitale says they’re going to have to lean on the community to survive until the mandate is over.
“We really need the support of the entire community if we are going to see this through,” he said.