Photo by Ricky Romero, via Flickr

Gov. Larry Hogan today extended his order prohibiting utility companies from shutting off services for residents or charging them late fees through July 1.

The order stops electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV and internet service providers from shutting off services at residences or charging households a late fee for lack of payment.

The order notes that some Marylanders have lost work and income due to the spread of coronavirus, potentially impacting their ability to pay for utilities.

It adds that terminating utility services for Marylanders who are not able to pay “would have serious public health, welfare, and safety consequences.”

In March, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young that the city would not shut off water services for residents who are unable to pay their bills during the pandemic, and the city would also waive late fees.

The city in April also offered a water billing discount for unemployed residents.

Hogan also expanded an order from Wednesday that allowed restaurants to resume outdoor dining starting at 5 p.m. today.

State-licensed alcohol manufacturers, including breweries, wineries and distilleries, will be allowed to begin serving customers outdoors as well under Hogan’s new order.

Like restaurants and bars, alcohol manufacturers must adhere to the Maryland Department of Health’s directives for outdoor seating areas.

Those directives included seating no more than six people per table and requiring tables to be at least six feet apart, using disposable menus or sanitizing menus between use, sanitizing outdoor tables and chairs between seatings, and requiring staff to undergo daily temperature checks and wear face coverings.

Establishments are still prohibited from serving food and beverages to customers indoors.

Several Baltimore-area alcohol manufacturers have already said they will not resume outdoor service at this time.

Union Craft Brewing said it will continue to operate its dockside pickup and delivery programs.

“Our top priority is always keeping our coworkers and customers safe. Additionally, we want to focus on supporting and supplying our restaurant partners as they reopen.” Union wrote on Facebook.

Nearby Waverly Brewing Company said it was also not ready to reopen and would stick to pickup and delivery.

“Our primary focus is the health and wellbeing of our co-workers and customers, as it is with all establishments, however, we do not feel we are ready at this time,” the brewery posted on Facebook.

Monument City Brewing also posted on Facebook that it would keep its taproom and outdoor seating area closed.

“As much as we’d love to see you here enjoying a few pints, we want to make sure we’re prepared to do it safely while still creating a positive experience,” the brewery wrote.

Meanwhile, Peabody Heights Brewery posted that it needed another week “to sort out how we can best serve our customers safely.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...