The city has launched a grant program to reimburse the fees restaurants had to pay to start or expand outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced today.
The Small Business Rebate Program will pay back up to $800 to eligible restaurants for the cost of outdoor dining permits.
“As restaurants continue to responsibly scale up their outdoor dining operations, we want to make sure to provide assistance where we can,” Young said in a statement. “This rebate program will help restaurants defray costs during what remains a very challenging time for our small businesses.”
The Baltimore Civic Fund will oversee the rebate program.
“We want to ensure a seamless, efficient process so that restaurants can focus on opening their doors,” Baltimore Civic Fund President HyeSook Chung said. “We are thrilled to be able support our small businesses in this way.”
Baltimore restaurants have been allowed to serve customers outside for the past month with the proper permitting and while following state health guidelines.
Restaurants that do not have a permit for outdoor dining can apply for a temporary permit online.
Restaurants with outdoor seating are required to place tables six feet apart, seat no more than six people per table unless they live together, sanitize tables and chairs between customer seatings, use single-use paper menus or sanitize reusable menus, and screen staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
Baltimore restaurants have also been allowed to reopen indoor dining at 50 percent capacity for the past week and a half since Young moved the city into phase two of Maryland’s coronavirus recovery plan.
However, city and state officials have repeatedly reminded the public that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.
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