Orchard Patio

Although the outside patio at The Orchard restaurant on North Market Street is empty now, Frederick is coming up with a plan to allow eateries to expand their outside seating areas as restrictions are slowly lifted.

With Maryland poised to allow the reopening of outdoor seating and service for restaurants beginning Friday, the city of Frederick is considering various options to help make it happen.

Those options include temporary street closures, reorganizing parking and setting up tables in parks, parking lots and other areas.

The city is looking for feedback on these ideas, which were announced Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Hogan announced he will allow outdoor seating and service starting at 5 p.m. Friday. No more than six people should be seated at outdoor tables, and the tables should be properly separated, he said.

Restaurants should use disposable menus or sanitize them between uses, he said. Face masks or coverings should be used for interactions between customers and servers and restaurant staff, he said.

Outdoor seating is expected to be extremely popular among patrons and restaurant owners alike, Mayor Michael O’Connor said at a briefing Wednesday morning, before the governor’s announcement.

The city wants to support restaurants, their workers, patrons and residents with an “optimal, safe plan” for increased outdoor seating that is in step with best practices and guidelines from the health department, he said.

One option would be to maintain the current streetscape and the existing use of parking spaces for curbside pick-up. Another would temporarily close certain blocks of Market and/or Patrick streets on certain days and at certain times to allow seating.

A third option would shift outdoor dining and pedestrian walkways into parking lanes, and let shopping centers and standalone restaurants convert parking or open areas into temporary outdoor dining, while a fourth idea would match restaurants with parks, parking areas and other open areas across the city for pop-up dining locations.

People can provide feedback on the options on the city’s website through Saturday.

“Each option has its pros and cons,” O’Connor said.

Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, said how many restaurants are able to take advantage of outdoor dining depends on what scenario or combination of scenarios the city selects.

The partnership would like to see any decision allow for more space for outdoor dining, continued curbside pickup, and more space for pedestrians, she said.

It will also depend on what County Executive Jan Gardner announces Thursday on how Frederick County will move forward with the next phase of reopening, Norman said.

Jim Hickey, owner of The Orchard, on North Market Street, said he’s not sure what he thinks of the proposals.

His restaurant already has a designated outdoor dining area on North Market, and they could put some more tables around the corner on West Church Street, Hickey said.

But he wouldn’t support putting tables in the parking lanes, where he feels they’d be too close to traffic, even with barriers.

“That, I’m not a fan of,” Hickey said.

He would be interested in seeing how public spaces could be used, and suggested that the city could essentially set up food courts, in which customers could get their food at a restaurant and take it to a designated spot to eat it.

But he’s not interested in having his staff wait on tables at City Hall or other areas off site.

Rick Weldon, CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks most downtown restaurants would welcome expanded seating options, since curbside and carryout service can only bring in limited revenue.

But the changes are a balancing act, he said, with retail stores on the same blocks as restaurants still need on-street parking for their patrons, Weldon said in an email Wednesday.

More outdoor seating along with continued carryout service could be very beneficial.

Limiting a restaurant to a small percentage of its capacity just doesn’t provide enough business to rehire all of its serving staff, Weldon said.

“The city of Frederick deserves credit for finding creative and balanced solutions to these challenges, for the bars, restaurants, and retail shops on Market and Patrick,” he said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(41) comments

Norton

Went to Frederick County Website to get details about the county re-opening. As of Friday morning, the last post was dated May 14 and described the two more weeks of prohibitions. Seems like the county has an awful lot of people on payroll and could get someone to type a few lines about important issue like this.

anthonylapara

And another thing, get the panhandlers under control. They could be carriers.

anthonylapara

Open up Maryland to indoor eating! Why pussyfoot around. No one has to dine if they are scared. Close Market St for 3 blocks for the Summer or until indoor dining is permitted. There are 3 parking garages to handle the lost of parking, and demand will be low for parking bacuse so many offices are closed.

Jaco

Sidewalk Width

“Sidewalk width requirements exist to make sure sidewalks are accessible for use by wheelchair-bound individuals. The minimum width for an ADA-compliant sidewalk is 36 inches (3 feet), though sidewalks can be constructed wider than this. If sidewalks are less than 60 inches (5 feet) across, passing spaces must be constructed at set intervals. These passing spaces must measure at least 60 inches on all sides, and must be located at least every 200 feet.”

Has the City evaluated this to ensure that 5 foot passing areas exist at least every 200 feet? Should these passing areas be marked so merchants don’t set out signs and other stuff? Tree wells, signage, folding signs, bike racks, and outdoor dining areas all have an impact on this. Some specific problem areas are Magoo’s, the alleyway next to Tsunami (the sides are too steep and not ADA compliant), and the curb cut/ramp next to Hootch and Banter (it’s steep and the outdoor dining area requires someone in a wheelchair to immediately turn toward Market Street). The City is aware of these problems, but won’t do anything about it. Someone will eventually be injured and file a lawsuit.

mattp

Outdoor dining isn't new to most of the world. Not sure hwy Frederick hasn't embraced his before they are forced too do so. Close Market street and let the businesses take advantage of the space. Its safer and more describable for all.

mattp

Sorry about the typos......

Dwasserba

Ok. Don't feed the birds unless you want them diving at your plate.

threecents

I think outdoor seating is a good idea, but it is important that everyone regard this as an experiment that could fail. Some of the ideas presented in the article sound nutty to me, but it is good that people are being creative.

jalexander

maybe, just maybe, this is all an overreaction.

bobskins

Some on Buckeystown Pike already have outside areas, like Champions.

newspostreader

Using parking spaces for seating will not work. Anyone in their right mind would not sit in one of those areas with traffic going by. That is an accident waiting to happen. Do people forget about insane folks who like to drive their cars through crowds of people?

steelersfan2005

the street would be closed.

kzat82

The road would be lined with jersey walls to protect the new seating area. This is outlined in the plans presented by the city.

bosco

I voted NO in today's FNP poll. We may not want to eat out if it's an outdoor venue, especially when bug season gets started. BUT, we want the freedom to choose. That's what the politicians have taken away.

We wear our masks when required and distance when required, but it is our freedom that we miss the most.

Brookhawk

I'm not about to go walking through or even close to an outdoor dining area anytime soon. Too much saliva flying around in the air. I don't care to get COVID even if I survive it, because it's a nasty, difficult trip even if you don't die.

bosco

Saliva flying around in the air? Yes, you need to stay home for a long time [ninja]

steelersfan2005

But im sure you still go to Wal-Mart.

bosco

Well, of course, that's the essential WalMart, the essential Home Depot, and the essential liquor stores, BUT don't get a haircut or go to church and break out into a joyful song or group recitiation.

[lol][lol][lol][lol][ninja]

User1

Good...stay in your mama’s basement and “hibernate”.

jakereed

OMG. People need to get a grip. LOL.

I agree, you should definitely stay home. For a looong time. Too dangerous outside.

jalexander

this is all so silly.

sevenstones1000

Sure, let’s make In The Streets permanent - turn Market Street into a permanent pedestrian mall. How your deliveries get made, I have no idea, but the fizzy headed boosters who think these things up don’t bother with actual people - just bring in the hordes from Mont Co!

One would think there was no other industry in Frederick besides restaurants, and we must all sacrifice to keep them going no matter what. Better idea is just encourage everyone to buy carryout twice a week.

anthonylapara

No problem. The street could be open before 11am for deliveries

steelersfan2005

Knowing Jan, she'll keep us locked down until we raid the streets with pitchforks.

bosco

Much longer and civil disobedience will take over. What are the penalties for ignoring Jan and her scared hairdressers and opening small businesses? What's she gonna do? [ninja][ninja]

jalexander

nothing. executive decree is not law, and jenkins will not enforce any of this unconstitutional nonsense.

mdlady

Ah yeah that is right Vote her out!!!

TaraS

Update the story with a link to the city's Web site, as noted above. I think shutting down blocks of Market Street makes sense to allow for tables on the sidewalk and street, allowing for a pedestrian walking area in the middle of the street. Leave the cross streets (West Patrick, Church, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) open for cross traffic and parking.

dirtorsoil

How about post a link to the city website where we’re supposed to supply feedback? You know, the thing that the entire article is about......

Jaco

Two comments: 1) Many of the outdoor dining areas in downtown Frederick already violate the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Many people think that a 3 foot wide passage is required, but I am pretty certain it is a 5 foot width that is required so that people in two wheelchairs or scooters can actually pass each other. There are also hazards for wheelchairs and others created by curb cuts and alleyways and the City is aware, but the City does not care. 2) Put out picnic tables in wide public spaces (parking lots, parks, City Hall, etc) and just let people order take-out and eat at picnic tables. Downtown Frederick Partnership and the City or County could provide hand sanitizer and bleach wipes. Start small and see if there’s any interest. Eating and singing are high transmission activities because people are not wearing masks and salvia is becoming airborne or aerosolized. Be cautious. Being waited on might not be worth it.

francesca_easa

That's a good idea too Jaco.

steelersfan2005

Sidewalk Width

Sidewalk width requirements exist to make sure sidewalks are accessible for use by wheelchair-bound individuals. The minimum width for an ADA-compliant sidewalk is 36 inches (3 feet).

benedictus

You can get takeout and take it to a park now. But for a lot of food, there’s a big difference between a styrofoam container of food and a nice, freshly plated meal. Nobody goes to Volt for takeout.

steelersfan2005

Volt isn't open at this time.

User1

If you put tables on the sidewalks or in the streets you’ll need to also place tents or canopies. Otherwise that seating is useless in inclement weather...like today.

steelersfan2005

or the heat.

anthonylapara

In NEW Orleans and other cities beach and cafe umbellas are used for shade and in bad weather.

francesca_easa

I suggested in an earlier story last week, that for First Saturday in June, the City can shut down Market between South and Fourth Streets, and set up tables 8 feet apart. Allow for a few restaurants to offer their fare and include a raffle. See how it works and if it is successful, needs tweaked or should be repeated. You're welcome. Do I get a prize?

EABiker

So, what about all the other restaurants that are not down town? Shut down Rt 40?

francesca_easa

Plenty of parking lot space for places like Red Lobster, Outback, Miyaki(sp?), Il Forno, Casa Rico, et al. Kmart's gone, Burlington and Boscovs currently closed. Question is whether the city would help pay for outdoor seating and tents to help restaurants that don't currently have any. In which case Jaco's recommendation makes far better sense.

stefcfi

According to their web site, Boscov's plans on opening Saturday. Unless the holy triumvirate of the county puts it off again.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!