Judge in Anne Arundel County expected to give final ruling on restaurant dining during COVID-19

Anne Arundel County is continuing to push tighter restrictions on how restaurants can operate during the pandemic.

A judge in the case has yet to decide whether a county executive order to ban all outdoor and indoor dining beginning Jan. 13, would go into effect or not.

READ MORE: Judge blocks executive order that bans indoor dining in Anne Arundel County

About three weeks ago, County Executive Steuart Pittman issued an executive order to close indoor and outdoor dining in the county, but on Dec. 16 four restaurants were able to stop that from happening on with a court-ordered temporary restraining order.

And before the judge's decision, regarding the restraining order, the county executive modified the order to allow outdoor dining, if 50% of the tent sides are down, but the restaurant owners have argued that it's not enough to keep businesses going. 

READ MORE: Anne Arundel county executive changes tune on outdoor dining

Following that, the four restaurant owners including Joe LeFavor, owner of Adam's Tap House and Grille in Severna Park 
who have testified, then asked for an injunction against the county executive’s order of a complete ban on indoor dining, which is what the hearings for the last two days have been all about.

Some restaurant managers in downtown Annapolis told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan Tuesday that it’s already hard enough operating at a limited capacity, so restricting their indoor and outdoor dining completely, would be devastating.

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"They didn’t have the true facts of where the numbers are coming from," said Hilary Peret, senior catering sales manger at Pusser’s Bar and Grille.

"Like how are the numbers going up and are the hospitals overfilled, how do you prove that? Is it the restaurants that Covid is spreading, because restaurants have been cleaner than they have been ever before, jumping through hoops to accommodate as much business as they can do."

"I think Covid is going to spread no matter what, whether you have other businesses opened too," said Katie Keator, manager of O’Brien’s.

"I think the restaurant owners should have a fight in this Covid situation. They have been put on the back burner and they definitely have been forgotten about because a lot of these restaurants have been here forever and they need the support of the community, people should respect wearing a mask when they can."

Pittman, was heard testifying via Zoom, telling the court that his executive orders to tighten dining restrictions are meant to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19 after consulting with his and other health officials, restaurant owners and his economic advisers.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge William Mulford is expected to make a ruling Wednesday at noon.