County Executive Pittman Issues Executive Order to Maintain Indoor Dining at 25% Capacity
Plaintiffs dismiss Circuit Court case, ending preliminary injunction
After a two day court hearing considering the county’s suspension of indoor dining in front of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, County Executive Steuart Pittman signed a new executive order this morning maintaining indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.
Upon issuance of Executive Order #40, Titan Hospitality Group agreed to dismiss their case challenging the county’s previous executive order, which suspended indoor dining for four weeks. The new executive order renders the temporary order granted by Judge William C. Mulford II on December 16 moot, as limited indoor dining is now permitted. Today’s order allows indoor dining at 25 percent capacity for establishments that collect information for contact tracing purposes and follow all other safety protocols. Outdoor dining is permitted, provided that tents have at least half of the number of sides up at all times.
According to the Anne Arundel Department of Health, the county’s case rate peaked at a seven day average of 48.7 cases per 100,000 residents on December 12. The case rate has leveled off and is down slightly from that high, although health officials warn that limited testing over the Christmas holiday may account for some artificial changes in the coming days.
To align with the new indoor dining provisions for restaurant and food service establishments, social clubs, bowling alleys, mall food courts and other businesses that serve food are now permitted to resume indoor dining at up to 25 percent of capacity with the same contact tracing provisions in place.
In addition to the revised indoor dining restrictions, Executive Order #40 limits third-party food delivery service fees to 15 percent of the purchase price of an online order. On December 21, The County Council voted 4-3 to pass similar emergency legislation, but the bill died because it required five votes as a result of its emergency status. During the same meeting, the County Council unanimously approved $2 million of funding to Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation to support the Restaurant Workers Humanitarian Relief Fund. This program will expand the debit card distribution program that is managed by Anne Arundel County Workforce Development.
In other efforts to support the local restaurant industry, Anne Arundel County established a $10 million grant program through Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation to support local restaurants. County Executive Pittman also waived the annual restaurant fees due in February and committed $1 million to support Feed Anne Arundel, a partnership of local restaurants, Arundel Community Development Services, Inc., the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth & Families, Anne Arundel Connecting Together, and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.