Outdoor dining is sticking around a bit longer in Annapolis, Maryland.
The city council approved a resolution to extend outdoor dining for restaurants for another 60 days at its in-person meeting Monday night.
Outdoor dining was a special exception permitted by the city to help businesses cope with the economic effects of COVID-19 under its state of emergency. The emergency expired Monday.
The initial plan was to extend the program for another year while regulations addressing outdoor dining could be written. But a last-minute amendment by Ward 1 Alderwoman Elly Tierney advocated for a 60-day turnaround instead.
“I have a real concern about a negative impact on restaurant businesses,” Ward 8 Alderman Ross Arnett said. He said he wanted the resolution to allow outdoor dining to sunset Nov. 1, as opposed to its current end date of around mid-June.
The long-term answer for what to do about outdoor dining seemed to fall into two camps.
Some of the aldermen supported the idea that business owners should pay a fee to convert their private parking into outdoor dining. That fee would then go into the city’s transportation fund.
Others felt that, since the parking spaces are owned by businesses, they were free to do with it what they wanted.
The resolution also directs City Manager David Jarrell to start a program that would study the effects of outdoor dining.
WTOP’s Acacia James contributed to this report.