BALTIMORE — A Baltimore restaurant owner says he was shocked to learn Baltimore City was aligning with the state and no longer requiring mask outdoors.
“Happily surprised,” said Sergio Vitale, who is owner of Aldo’s Restaurant. "Given our mayor’s history with regard to these orders, he doesn’t always align with state guidance [and] federal guidance."
Mayor Brandon Scott announced Friday the city was lifting the outdoor mask mandate. It was welcomed news for restaurant owners who anxiously waited for the city’s decision.
Vitale said it’s “a step in the right direction”.
“I think that all of the news this, the culmination of all the news this week, the vaccine rollout, the masks, it’s just all positive,” he said.
Unlike most of the state, the mayor is deciding to keep capacity restrictions in place for outdoor dining.
Vitale said he also believes the city should increase capacity for indoor dining from 50 to 75 percent.
It’s one of the reasons why his restaurant remains closed. He said the increase is what’s need to help struggling restaurants.
“All of us in this industry are yet at another inflection point. I've been spending my time filling out forms getting my ducks in a row for SBA programs to get money that’s desperately needed,” said Vitale.
Those not yet fully vaccinated are still strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when outdoors to reduce the chances of disease transmission.
Everyone is still required to wear face coverings inside public indoor places or transportation.