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.