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Restaurants celebrate lifting of restrictions

Outdoor dining with no limits starts this weekend
Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 17:07:28-04

BEL AIR, Md. — No one could have foreseen that its parking lot and roof deck would prove vital in saving Black Eyed Suzie’s in Bel Air from the fate of some other restaurants during the pandemic, but outdoor dining has played a key role in keeping it in business, and now they will play an even bigger role.

“Currently, right now, with the six-feet restrictions and all that, between both sides, we’re probably at around a hundred people, but our capacity is double that so now we can get twice as many people in all of our outdoor spaces,” said Nathan Hayes, the restaurant’s activities director.

Twice as many people, and Governor Larry Hogan took it a step further on Wednesday announcing he would allow businesses to tap back into their liquor sales as well.

“Standing service may resume outdoors at bars and restaurants and all restrictions related to outdoor dining capacity and distancing will be lifted,” Hogan told reporters.

Businesses like Black Eyed Suzie’s are now planning to squeeze in outdoor bars and more tables as the weather heats up and COVID numbers are going down.

“Hopefully, what it’s going to do is give us back some of the early months,” said Hayes. “If you look at it from a year perspective, obviously this year, last year, we were doing carryout only. We were really just trying to invent our-self trying to figure out, ‘How to get Mother’s Day back? How can we get to-go food out? To-go drinks out?’ Stuff like that. If we could sort of gain what we lost last year and then keep the momentum going, I think it looks great for us and a lot of the restaurants who have really fought through this pandemic.”

As more people get vaccinated, the state will look at lifting restrictions on indoor dining, which will allow restaurants like this one to start counting their profits instead of their losses.