/Judge hears legal challenge to Anne Arundel restaurant restrictions – WBAL TV Baltimore

Judge hears legal challenge to Anne Arundel restaurant restrictions – WBAL TV Baltimore


An Anne Arundel County judge is hearing arguments Monday whether to stop the county executive’s order from taking effect, shutting down indoor restaurant dining until Jan. 13.|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||On Dec. 8, Pittman issued an executive order to close indoor and outdoor dining in the county, but four restaurants were able to stop that on Dec. 16 with a court-ordered temporary restraining order.Read the temporary restraining orderJust hours before the judge’s decision, the county executive modified the order to allow outdoor dining, provided that 50% of tent sides are down, but the restaurant owners said it’s not enough and they’re asking for the judge’s help.Nine witnesses — including restaurant owners and doctors — testified Monday via Zoom in the day-long hearing before Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge William Mulford.The hearing turned into battle of the experts: attorneys for four Anne Arundel County restaurant owners contend County Executive Steuart Pittman does not have the authority to prohibit indoor dining, nor to restrict eating outdoors at restaurants by requiring 50% of tent flaps to be up. The attorneys also pointed out there is no scientific evidence to support restaurant dining contributes to the spread of COVID-19.Lawyers for Pittman explained in court papers that Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order provides the legal authority to enact further restrictions. They said the science from public health experts is clear, that it shows taking actions to limit situations where people gather without masks will prevent the spread of the virus and save lives.Pittman is set to testify on Tuesday.Restaurants have been using previous relief grants to help with the purchase of personal protective equipment. Some of the money had been used to buy tents and heaters and to keep workers on the payroll.James King, whose Titan Hospitality Group brought the lawsuit, told the judge the money was like “putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.”Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, a Stanford University-based doctor and professor, told the judge he did a study on the spread of the virus by patronizing restaurants, saying, “It is safe for Anne Arundel County restaurants to stay open at 25% capacity. The likelihood of asymptomatic spread of the virus is 0.7%.”Restaurant owners explained the extraordinary steps they have taken to keep employees and customers safe. One uses an app to remind managers of safety checks to perform every 30 minutes, and they must send photographic evidence it was completed. Another restaurant owner told the court his HVAC system constantly pipes in outdoor air, replacing as much as 10% of the indoor air.Lawyers for the restaurant group rested their case late Monday afternoon. The county executive’s lawyers called a John Hopkins University associate professor of medicine to testify. He said transmitting the virus is more likely to happen indoors and in the winter months.Last week, the Maryland Restaurant Coalition released a poll that they said shows a majority of respondents think the closing of indoor dining is wrong.

An Anne Arundel County judge is hearing arguments Monday whether to stop the county executive’s order from taking effect, shutting down indoor restaurant dining until Jan. 13.

|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||

On Dec. 8, Pittman issued an executive order to close indoor and outdoor dining in the county, but four restaurants were able to stop that on Dec. 16 with a court-ordered temporary restraining order.

Just hours before the judge’s decision, the county executive modified the order to allow outdoor dining, provided that 50% of tent sides are down, but the restaurant owners said it’s not enough and they’re asking for the judge’s help.

Nine witnesses — including restaurant owners and doctors — testified Monday via Zoom in the day-long hearing before Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge William Mulford.

The hearing turned into battle of the experts: attorneys for four Anne Arundel County restaurant owners contend County Executive Steuart Pittman does not have the authority to prohibit indoor dining, nor to restrict eating outdoors at restaurants by requiring 50% of tent flaps to be up. The attorneys also pointed out there is no scientific evidence to support restaurant dining contributes to the spread of COVID-19.

Lawyers for Pittman explained in court papers that Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order provides the legal authority to enact further restrictions. They said the science from public health experts is clear, that it shows taking actions to limit situations where people gather without masks will prevent the spread of the virus and save lives.

Pittman is set to testify on Tuesday.

Restaurants have been using previous relief grants to help with the purchase of personal protective equipment. Some of the money had been used to buy tents and heaters and to keep workers on the payroll.

James King, whose Titan Hospitality Group brought the lawsuit, told the judge the money was like “putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.”

Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, a Stanford University-based doctor and professor, told the judge he did a study on the spread of the virus by patronizing restaurants, saying, “It is safe for Anne Arundel County restaurants to stay open at 25% capacity. The likelihood of asymptomatic spread of the virus is 0.7%.”

Restaurant owners explained the extraordinary steps they have taken to keep employees and customers safe. One uses an app to remind managers of safety checks to perform every 30 minutes, and they must send photographic evidence it was completed. Another restaurant owner told the court his HVAC system constantly pipes in outdoor air, replacing as much as 10% of the indoor air.

Lawyers for the restaurant group rested their case late Monday afternoon. The county executive’s lawyers called a John Hopkins University associate professor of medicine to testify. He said transmitting the virus is more likely to happen indoors and in the winter months.

Last week, the Maryland Restaurant Coalition released a poll that they said shows a majority of respondents think the closing of indoor dining is wrong.

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You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Twitter.
You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Twitter.
You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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