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Harford County restaurants to take it outdoors

COVID restriction to be lifted on outside seating
Posted at 3:29 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:30:12-04

BEL AIR, Md. — What carry out and curbside business it has is bustling, but Bagel Works in Bel Air is working on expanding that business when the restaurant can allow outside dining on Friday.

“The tents will give us a little more, right? It’s like maybe 10 percent more, right?” said General Manager Danny Gerber. “But the people an opportunity to get out of their house and eat safely and feel safe.”

In a bid to further boost business for restaurants, County Executive Barry Glassman says he’s willing to use parking lots owned by the county to allow further expansion where it’s possible, and a few weeks from now, he’s agreed to let the Bel Air Downtown Alliance use the ‘Tire Lot’ on Main Street to attract more people to the area.

“We’re going to put a county stage facility there and maybe have bands, music or some of our artists perform, and folks will be able to drive there and park and watch it just like a drive-in theater on a smaller scale,” said Glassman. “but I think it will allow folks to socially distance, but still get out and help our restaurants at the same time.”

The plan comes at a time when some restaurants have become frustrated waiting for the reopening to reach them, including Bagel Works, which first erected its tent two weeks ago.

“Just have people come and sit down, get their carry out, come out and just have some place to eat so they don’t have to eat in their cars. They don’t have to sit down in the parking lot. They had a place to just sit down. Everything was spaced out six feet,” recalled Gerber. “So we put that on Facebook as an idea and we did that and we got 25,000 hits in a day.”

But it just took a pair of police officers to remind them that outdoor seating would be in violation of the governor’s order at that time, forcing them to wait until now.

The county says the key to a successful reopening is that people are mindful of social distancing, masks and other safety precautions, which could be part of our lives for months to come.