OCEAN CITY — With the resort’s season now in full swing, the local area’s representatives in Annapolis and state restaurant and hospitality leaders will gather on the Eastern Shore on Monday afternoon to make an impassioned plea to Governor Larry Hogan to ease restrictions and allow businesses to open more fully.
Hogan last week announced the state was entering stage two of his Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery plan, which allows for the reopening of most retail businesses, personal services businesses and many other industries. Conspicuously absent from Hogan’s state two announcement was any mention of easing restrictions still in place for restaurants, amusements and other hospitality industries.
As a result, most resort-area restaurants are still operating with outdoor seating where possible, modified outdoor seating arrangements and a carryout model, while others remain shuttered as the summer season approaches mid-June. Most are making it work the best they can, while others continue to see all-important summer revenue slipping away.
As a result, the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM), along with a slew of Eastern Shore state senators and delegates and representatives of the regional hospitality industry will hold a press conference at the Fisherman’s Inn in Grasonville on Monday afternoon to implore Hogan to ease the restrictions and allow restaurants to reopen and stop the fiscal bleeding.
Among those expected to attend are State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, Delegates Wayne Hartman and Carl Anderton and U.S. Congressman Andy Harris, along with RAM President and CEO Marshall Weston, Jr. Among those from the local area expected to speak during the press conference are Antoinette Bruno of Trimper’s Rides, Valerie Kramer of Baja Amusements, Cole Taustin from the Bonfire, Embers and Candy Kitchen, Jerry Greenspan of the Sportland Arcade and John Knorr of Phillips and Evolution Craft Brewing.
The speakers are expected ask Hogan to reopen Maryland restaurants and amusements immediately.
Under the current circumstances, Maryland’s restaurant and food service industry have already lost roughly $1.4 billion in sales and an estimated 150,000 restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed. RAM estimates 45% of the state’s restaurants remain closed due to the pandemic with a projection that 25% will not survive and close permanently.
RAM has been prepared and ready for restaurants and caterers to safely reopen for dine-in customers. In consultation with the National Restaurant Association, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and University Food Service representatives, RAM has created the “Restaurants Are Ready” plan with a thorough set of guidelines and recommendations that fully address the safety of employees and the public while reopening restaurants.