Criteria for Reopening Restaurants and Social Clubs

Effective as of May 29, 2020, 5:00 p.m. per City Executive Order No. 17

The City of Annapolis understands this pandemic has had a significant impact on the health and well-being of our citizens as well as the business community.  With the reopening of restaurants and social clubs allowed by City Executive Order No. 17, we want to provide guidance for the operation of foodservice establishments in outdoor seating areas.   

Within the confines of City law, there is an opportunity to provide outdoor dining permitting in a streamlined process, providing a path for an improved economic outlook for foodservice businesses.   

Effective at 5 p.m. on May 29, 2020, foodservice establishments with already permitted outdoor dining facilities may serve food and beverages to customers for consumption in outdoor seating areas.   

The following criteria have been established with the understanding that outdoor seating must be done with strict adherence to social distancing and other public health and safety laws and practices. Anne Arundel County will adhere to the State of Maryland’s “Best Practices for Businesses to Reopen for Restaurants and Bars.”  

In order to expand outdoor seating beyond what is currently permitted, food service establishments can apply through their business district association for a special event permit that allows additional seating during the recovery period, until the State of the Emergency is ended. 

Following are the City of Annapolis criteria for outdoor seating relating to food and beverage service: 

  • Tables must be spaced to accommodate six feet of social distancing between each seated party; 

  • No more than six people may sit together at a table;

  • Households may be seated together;  

  • If the outside dining area includes sidewalks, grassed areas, or parking pads or lots, the dining area must be clearly delineated through the use of bollards, landscaping planters, fencing, etc.; 

  • If an outside dining area includes a parking lot: 

  1. ADA accessible parking spaces cannot be used; 

  2. Traffic flow into and out of the site shall not be blocked; and, 

  3. Fire lanes for emergency vehicles shall remain unobstructed to maintain adequate clearance to meet Fire Code standards. 

  • Points of access to the restroom facilities must be provided; 

  • Outdoor seating areas cannot be more than 500 feet away from the restrooms; 

  • Any tent over 120 square feet requires a City permit (visit the Recovery Zone website for instructions);

  • If the tent is to be used after dusk, lightning must provided; and

  • Proposed use of electric or plumbing outdoors must comply with all applicable Code requirements and may require separate permits 

Failure to comply with State or local executive orders regarding public gatherings and other COVID-19 related restrictions will be grounds for the City of Annapolis to revoke authorization of the temporary use for outdoor seating. As previously noted, all State, County and City laws that currently apply to  businesses remain in effect.   

All business use must operate in accordance with CDC and MDH COVID guidelines.