Ocean City prepares for outdoor seating reopening after Governor announces Stage One Recovery

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Governor Hogan announced the State’s transition to complete stage one of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery beginning May 29 at 5pm. 

This stage allows for the reopening of safe youth sports activities, outdoor activities at youth day camps, outdoor pools, drive-in movie theaters, and outdoor seating for restaurants and bars.  All new activities are subject to state guidance and local regulations.

Prior to the announcement, the Town of Ocean City began working on a step by step permit to allow for a safe yet swift reopening for many businesses. 

“We know our restaurant community is anxious to reopen and we wanted to create an easy yet effective way for them to do so safely,” commented Ocean City Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville.  “Any business or organization that wishes to expand beyond their existing site plan approval must complete the application online, receive approval from review agencies, and follow the State and CDC guidelines.”

The Department of Planning and Community Development has also been working closely with the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office and Worcester County Health Department, who will also provide input on permit approvals.  Plan requirements and guidelines for approval include floor plan of seating area, placement of handwashing stations and location of restrooms among other guidelines.

The temporary permit for outdoor seating does not allow use of public ways including sidewalks, boardwalk, streets or the beach.

Mayor Rick Meehan complimented the proactive partnership between the town, county and business community.  “This has been a team effort and is a great example of the innovation and collaboration of our community,” Mayor Meehan stated. 

“Safety is always our first priority in Ocean City.  With appropriate social distancing practices, adherence to the safety measures, and the commitment and cooperation of our restaurant operators who have always shown the initiative to be leaders in their industry, the Town of Ocean City believes that a safe reopening plan for outdoor dining can be implemented and enhance the safety of visitors throughout our community.”