BALTIMORE — New COVID-19 restrictions in Baltimore have dealt yet another blow to restaurants already struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Mayor Brandon Scott announced changes that include shutting down indoor and outdoor dining on Friday until further notice.
Baltimore city restaurant owners believe without any financial relief from the federal government it could force restaurants to close.
“This is a crisis for restaurants and small businesses," said the owner of Aldo's restaurant Sergio Vitale.
Vitale, who decided to close indoor dining over a week ago, said it led him to lay off his staff. He said he's down to his last penny due to the pandemic.
He’s started a new gift box food program to minimize his losses. It launched on Wednesday. It’s a program that will allow him to ship food to customers anywhere in the country. He banking on to help him keep his doors open.
But, the owner of Aldo’s said the restrictions could leave some restaurants with no choice, but to close.
“I think you’re going to start seeing bankruptcies, you may start seeing homelessness among those of us who risked everything spent all our life savings on a dream in Baltimore city,” he said.
Gia Blatterman, who is the owner of Cafe Gia in Little Italy, said almost certain the restrictions could mean the end for a lot businesses, especially restaurants.
“A lot of our restaurants are going to be killed in this,” she said. “They aren’t going to come back.”
Blatterman said it’s disappointing outdoor dining will have to close after she spent nearly 10,000 dollars to expand outdoor dining at her establishment.
She’s also questioning why some businesses are allowed to stay open, but businesses like hers are essentially shutdown.
Blatterman said being reduced to carryout isn’t enough to pay the bills.
“The casinos are open. Gyms are open. God bless them. We want to be open too,” she said.