Outside Dining LaPaz

The city of Frederick is exploring ways to expand outdoor dining to accommodate restaurants in the city once dine-in service is allowed to return.

Frederick is looking to unveil options next week for expanded outdoor dining to accommodate restaurants in the city once dine-in service is allowed to return.

The city is developing possible ways to accommodate restaurants and bars for limited capacity dining at some point in the future, economic development director Richard Griffin said at a briefing Wednesday morning.

“In our downtown area, this may mean a reconfiguration of public spaces, along sidewalks and parking lanes, to increase safe, physically distant pedestrian movement and table spacing,” Griffin said.

In shopping centers along the city’s Golden Mile and elsewhere, it could allow property managers to reconfigure parking spaces and internal sidewalks to help with outdoor dining and retail sales, he said.

With restaurants currently limited to take-out and delivery service, there is no indication of when sit-down dining will return.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan lifted a stay-at-home order, and Frederick County allowed small retail businesses to reopen at 50 percent of their capacity as long as they adhere to rules requiring the wearing of masks and maintaining of safe social distances.

Businesses such as barbershops, salons and churches remain closed pending monitoring of COVID-19-related statistics in the county.

In a recent survey that drew responses from 110 city businesses, 6 percent reported being fully open, while 51 percent said they were open in a limited capacity, Griffin said.

Another 42 percent said they were temporarily closed, while 1 percent said they’d closed permanently since the pandemic began.

Of the businesses that responded, 72 percent reported that they’d laid off all or some of their part-time staff, and a similar number had laid off up to 75 percent of their full-time staff, Griffin said.

He said 85 percent of businesses had applied for some sort of government financial assistance and 47 percent had gotten some sort of aid.

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

(21) comments


Let’s not jam all of the pedestrians together on narrow walkways, so the restaurants can have more outdoor seating. This would defeat the purpose of the expanded seating via less social distancing on the sidewalks, where most of the people are. Plus in the middle of summer when it’s 95, how many people will want to sit outside. Same in the rain and other foul weather.


There are a variety of options that the City could use to facilitate the expansion of outdoor table space on Market and Patrick Sts downtown. One would be eliminating parking so restaurants could expand to curb and pedestrians could walk in the parking lanes. Curbside could continue by only using one lane for thru traffic. Another could be closing the streets fro say 11 am to 10 pm, so that there are times late at night or early morning go deliveries. But the city needs to discuss all ideas with all the Downton businesses and residents before acting.


It's time for Frederick to get rid of street parking on market street permanently. Yes handicap parking will have to be figured out but I think it will help businesses to have that space


They’re not only going to have to figure out handicapped parking, but they’re going to have to figure out how to make sure that people who need to use wheelchairs and walkers, plus those who are blind, can navigate safely.

If they cannot do this, then they will be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Understandable. IMO the sidewalk should be widened completely and even reduce market to single lane. Allow businesses to increase their footprint. I think it will help shops as much as restaurants.


Jumping on the smart comments below bandwagon - We could close Market Street until Oct 1. That's doable and it would give the restaurants a fighting chance.


Just make sure the plan is fair and the city doesn't pick winners and losers !


Though appealing, shutting down Market Street to vehicle traffic does bring the question of how deliveries and pickups to and from businesses would be made. I have thought for some time that if it could be done in a practical way it would be pretty cool.


Exactly. It's those pesky details.


Typically, deliveries are limited to early morning hours in places that do this. Beyond that, the distances to cross streets are not that far.


Where there is a will, there is a way. I was in a pedestrian only area in Macchu Picchu several years ago and the delivery people used handcarts for everything, including foodstuffs for restaurants snd even construction materials.


Past the causeway to the island, all of Venice, Italy, is pedestrian only. Deliveries to the restaurants, hotels, etc. are by boat to the nearest dock and by handcart from there. Garbage is sent out the same way. It's a beautiful city, but pigeon crap everywhere.


Close Market Street after 4pm and let them use the street.


A good suggestion. And maybe all day on Saturday and Sunday.




Shut down Market St and make it pedestrian.


Nice idea!




Interesting idea, but it's a state road and a snow emergency route. I wonder how many approvals it would take to make that happen.


Good point - how about we make it just until Oct 31.


A plus thinking.

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