Franchot calls on Hogan to immediately allow outdoor seating at restaurants

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Posted at 2:35 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 17:59:16-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is calling on Governor Larry Hogan to immediately allow restaurants with outdoor seating to reopen.

Franchot made the remarks during his opening statement at Wednesday morning's Board of Public Works meeting.

"My sleeve is tugged all the time by small business people who understandably are frustrated, particularly restaurants who say look we're dying out here, we can't survive, you've got to loosen things up," Franchot says people have told him. "My response to that is no public health, no economy. You've got to have people feeling confident that they can go out and engage in economic commerce and right now that is very up in the air."

The comptroller acknowledged that the state was not yet ready to allow indoor seating, but argued outdoor seating on patios and sidewalks is a safer choice, and could help local businesses.

"We cannot keep these restaurants completely throttled because none of them are going to be able to survive," Franchot said.

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Hogan also sits on the Board of Public Works. His office released the following statement.

"The governor will continue to monitor the key metrics and follow the plan outlined in the Roadmap to Recovery."

On Friday, the state began phase one of it's reopening process. Currently restaurants are only allowed to continue delivery, carry-out, or curbside pickup under phase one. The gradual re-opening of some restaurants is part of phase two, though no specific date has been announced on when that will begin.