Worcester County expedites process to help bars, restaurants reopen

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Worcester County Commissioners have approved a free, expedited process to help bars and restaurants in unincorporated areas of the county develop temporary outdoor seating.

The program, developed in accordance with Governor Larry Hogan’s transition to complete stage one of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, is aimed at helping businesses reopen under the guidelines issued.

“The Commissioners and staff have implemented a simple, no-cost program that fast-tracks the permitting process, so that bars and restaurants can get back to business,” Commission President Joe Mitrecic said.

Temporary outdoor seating permit applications are available on the county homepage under “Important links” at http://www.co.worcester.md.us. A separate approval must also be obtained from the Worcester County Health Department – their office can be reached at (410) 352-3234.

“Only bars and restaurants seeking to either expand existing permitted outdoor seating or to add new outdoor seating will be required to obtain a permit,” Development Review and Permitting Director Ed Tudor said. “Parking requirements will be allocated based on the outdoor seating area only. We will strive to approve applications as quickly as possible, based on the quality of information we receive from the applicants.”

All temporary outdoor seating permits will be valid only until December 30, 2020 or the cessation of the occupancy restrictions by the State of Maryland, whichever is earliest. Those with existing permits will not be required to reapply to the county.