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Restaurants celebrate lifting of ban to remain open

Court delays Anne Arundel County indoor dining restriction
Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 18:10:44-05

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — Chambers of commerce from throughout Anne Arundel County had tried to stop it.

“We were just urging the county executive to not put further restrictions and to keep it where it is,” Beth Nowell, CEO of the northern chamber, told us last week.

But County Executive Steuart Pittman wasn’t having any part of it.

“The action that we're taking is moving from the 25 percent capacity in bars and restaurants that we’re under right now to take out only,” Pittman announced the following day.

Imagine the surprise of restaurant owners, like Bill Chalmers of The Grill in Glen Burnie, when on the very day the four-week ban was to take effect, a judge granted a temporary injunction after some restaurants argued they were being singled out as prime places where the coronavirus could spread when other businesses like casinos would remain open.

“I think that we were singled out and we’re not even the highest in the highest risk factor,” said Chalmers. “I think that once we really start boring into the contact tracing and really figuring it out, I think the restaurants will come out on top. There’s no question in my mind.”

This from an owner who spent as much as $20,000 to make his restaurant safer for his patrons, his staff and his own family, for that matter, who also work in the business.

Employees receiving their second pink slips of the pandemic are now being called back.

“It’s just been awful for them,” said Chalmers. “There’s nothing… we have a schedule. We’re changing the schedule. Now, we have to change it back yesterday at three o’clock and also their uncertainty going into the holidays. It’s been very stressful. No question.”

The temporary injunction only runs through December 28th and if it’s upheld at that hearing, it could jeopardize other bans in the state, including the one in the City of Baltimore.