Retail stores in Baltimore City will be allowed to begin curbside pickup, effective 9 a.m. Wednesday, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced today.
While the city’s retail businesses must remain closed to the public, they will be able to request temporary pick up and drop off zones for customers and delivery drivers to use.
“These zones will enable residents to quickly and safely pick up purchases while ensuring frequent parking turnover so the location remains reliable and available for use,” Young said.
Businesses or business districts can apply for a permit for one of the temporary zones on the city’s Parking Authority website. The city will review applications on a first come, first served basis, according to a news release.
Businesses may not be able to have their own zone and the city is encouraging them to share zones with other businesses on their block, several blocks or within a business district, the news release said.
Young said the city decided to ease its restriction on curbside pickup after other jurisdictions began allowing it.
“The surrounding counties are doing curbside [pickup] for their retail businesses and it’s putting our businesses at a disadvantage,” he said.
Gyms and fitness centers must remain closed, but the city will permit outdoor exercise classes with no more than 10 people. Class instructors and attendees must continue to abide by social distancing and face covering protocols, Young said.
Once Gov. Larry Hogan reopens restaurants and bars at limited capacity–a move that is expected as part of stage two of the state’s recovery plan–Young said he will assess whether Baltimore eateries are ready to reopen.
In preparation, Councilman Eric Costello (District 11) said the city is designing an outdoor seating relief program, which will allow establishments to apply to offer outdoor dining and cut down on the wait time to process that permit.
“We know that our small business community does not have the ability to wait three months to be able to get back close to the revenue that they were capturing prior to COVID-19,” said Costello, who co-chairs the city’s COVID-19 Small Business Task Force.
The city is also planning a program to close select streets for outdoor dining, Costello said.
“That’s going to be targeting small streets, non-arterial roads that do not have public transportation on them, in residential areas that have a high density of restaurants.”
Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of the city’s quasi-public economic development arm, the Baltimore Development Corporation, said the organization on Friday will be launching a $1.5 million program called Design for Distancing.
On Friday, BDC will open its request for proposals for ideas to adapt existing business infrastructure with social distancing and other health best practices in mind.
“This will be used to re-adapt a lot of the public space in our main streets and commercial districts … to make it easier and safer for businesses to reopen,” Tarbert said.
The deadline to submit design proposals is June 7. BDC will then implement the designs in early July, Tarbert said.