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Judge Denies Request To Allow Indoor, Outdoor Dining In Baltimore One Week After AA County Judge Blocks Similar COVID-19 Order From Taking Effect

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A judge denied a request that would have restored indoor and outdoor dining in Baltimore City despite COVID-19 concerns, Mayor Brandon Scott's office said Wednesday evening, one week after a judge in neighboring Anne Arundel County came to the opposite conclusion about restaurant restrictions.

On Wednesday, the judge in Baltimore's circuit court denied a temporary restraining order hoping to overturn Scott's ban on indoor and outdoor dining in Baltimore City due to COVID-19 concerns.


In a statement, Scott said he was pleased with the decision, saying the court ruled "in favor of the health and safety of Baltimoreans."

"My decision to temporarily restrict in-person dining was not an easy one, but was necessary given the science and critical role Baltimore's hospitals play in the COVID-19 response and in providing critical care for Maryland residents statewide. We will continue to evaluate the COVID metrics on infections, hospitalizations and deaths and I will ease restrictions when it is justifiable by the data," he said in the statement.

Last week, the Restaurant Association of Maryland filed legal action against Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's counties over the jurisdictions' stricter rules on restaurants.

The group is asking for capacity limits to be set at the same level allowed in other parts of the state under Gov. Larry Hogan's latest order.


Wednesday's ruling came one week after a judge in Anne Arundel County issued a temporary restraining order blocking County Executive Steuart Pittman's December 10 order that put a halt on indoor dining, keeping restaurants in the county open at limited capacity. A hearing in the Anne Arundel County case is set for December 28, the day Judge William Mulford II's injunction ends.

Restaurant owners and workers in Anne Arundel County are calling COVID-19 restrictions an "extinction event" as they continue to fight to keep their doors open. They sued over the order, and the judge agreed the restrictions unfairly targeted restaurants.

"We cannot allow burdensome regulations to submit our restaurants to a death sentence without a trial," said James King, the CEO of Titans Hospitality.

The Maryland Restaurant Coalition, formed during the pandemic, stands united and dedicated to working within all safety guidelines.

"I have 1,500 employees. These ladies and gentlemen behind me, they have an additional 1500 employees, and to date, we have not a single hospitalization from any employee in our region," said Bob Garner with Glory Days Grill.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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