ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Street dining has become one of the more popular practices of the pandemic, but the clock is ticking on how long it may be allowed in Maryland's capital city.
The Annapolis City Council is seeking a do-over on legislation it passed two weeks ago. Under the current rules, the street dining in the city is due to expire on June 11.
Restaurant set tables on Main street, closed to traffic, to create an outdoor dining area where people can enjoy lunch in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 21, 2020 - Visitors flock to Annapolis for the start of summer 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The city council is looking to let businesses continue outdoor dining until the end of October. The original bill passed on April 11 only allowed outdoor dining to continue for 60 days after the State of Emergency order ended this month.
Mayor Gavin Buckley tells FOX 5 some residents have voiced concerns about all the parking spaces the outdoor areas take up.
"Cities in the country with the most parking per capita of anywhere in the country, the main complaint to those city councils is, ‘We don’t have enough parking,‘" Mayor Buckley says. "So it doesn’t matter how much you build -- it’s always going to be the same story."
The idea is the city will extend the current outdoor dining into the fall, getting them through the busy spring and summer tourist seasons. FOX 5 has heard a lot of support for making the outdoor spaces permanent.
"I mean it’s a place that you want to sit outside by the water in downtown Annapolis, so I think it’s been great," said one viewer.
"The outside dining thing, that’s genius, that’s great, people love it and on nice days, we have more people that want to sit outside than inside," said another.
Even though the Annapolis City Council passed the last set of outdoor dining rules two weeks ago, the city code lets them reconsider or "re-do" any action they take as long as they do it at the next meeting.
That meeting is Monday night, and outdoor dining is on the agenda.