Restaurants Now Allowed to Offer Outdoor Dining with Restrictions

Phase One of reopening Montgomery County went into effect Monday morning. This allows restaurants to offer outdoor seating with restrictions, including maintaining social distancing between patrons.

Bassett’s Restaurant in Poolesville has opened outdoor dining in their parking lot and a Silver Diner in Rio Lakefront has expanded seating into a space that usually belongs to a movie theater.

Other restaurants such as Knowles Station Wine & Co in Kensington are opting to wait a few more days to ensure that their staff is prepared. Knowles Station plans to reopen on Thursday according to a post on their Instagram.

To further ensure the comfort of its customers, Knowles Station will have its reopening plan on its website. They are also trying new measures, such as digital menus to provide more contactless service, according to General Manager Bill Townsend.

“My main goal is to ensure that we can provide the same service, safety, health of our guests as well as our staff,” said Townsend.

There are three ways for restaurants to go about opening outdoor dining, according to the Montgomery County Government website.

If a restaurant already has a designated outdoor area, in order to reopen it, they must obtain a permit to do so as well as make sure they are following Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Restaurants Checklist.

If a restaurant wants to change its outdoor space or create a new area for dining, they must apply for the permit, review the checklist, and apply for a “Temporary Business Modification.

The third option for restaurants is to create a temporary outside dining area in a street or public space by emailing outdoordiningcovid19@montgomerycountymd.gov. 

The Montgomery County Government has created a document to guide restaurants through these steps here.

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Isabel Cleary

About Isabel Cleary

Isabel Cleary is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Relations. She is currently a Summer 2020 intern at Montgomery Community Media. Follow her on twitter @IsabelCleary

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