2021 | Government

Elrich amends indoor dining reopening order; customers would get 90 minutes, not 60

Effective date pushed back from this week to Feb. 14

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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is giving customers more time to eat when restaurants reopen for indoor service — 90 minutes instead of 60.

The time limit is part of an executive order that Elrich has sent for the County Council to consider on Tuesday. The order previously proposed a 60-minute limit, but Elrich expanded it.

The order would cap indoor dining capacity to 25%.

Elrich also changed the order’s effective date from Tuesday of this week at 5 p.m. to Feb. 14 at 7 a.m.

A council public hearing on the executive order was underway late Tuesday morning. The council is scheduled to vote on the bill afterward.

Council Member Will Jawando said during a previous council meeting on Feb. 2 that he would not support the bill.

Under the executive order, restaurants would be required to keep a daily record of the date and time of the meal service and the name and contact information of at least one person in each dining party. The record would be kept for at least 30 days for contact tracing purposes.

The county closed indoor dining on Dec. 15 in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor dining, carryout, delivery and drive-through service is still permitted.

In December, more than 30 restaurants, with help from the Restaurant Association of Maryland, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the county’s ban on indoor dining.

After a 12-hour hearing on Dec. 23, a Montgomery County circuit judge declined to strike down the ban. However, a second hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.