A Baltimore City judge on Thursday denied to block Baltimore's sit-down dining ban but concludes it is appropriate for the city to weigh the economic impacts in issuing such orders.
“It’s simply not possible to quantify decision-making to that level of decision,” said Circuit Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill. “The mayor’s invested by statute with the authority to make these difficult decisions.”
The judge denied restaurateurs a temporary restraining order, though the lawsuit remains active.
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“Not only are we disappointed in the judge’s ruling, but also in what appears to be an impossible standard to meet in order for restaurants to reopen in Baltimore City," Marshall Weston, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said in a statement. "The models being used to make decisions are not based on actual events or data and are only mathematical exercises as to what might happen. In the meantime, people will continue to leave the city to dine in restaurants located in other counties and I suspect that many restaurant owners are now considering the same.”
On Friday, Mayor Brandon Scott is due to reconsider the current ban, which has been in place for more than a month.
"This ruling was fundamentally about the health and safety of Baltimoreans," Scott said in a news release Thursday night.
"While we're all anxious to get back to some sense of normalcy, we must continue to take precautions until the data determines it is safe to reopen. The actions we take today help protect the ones we love and avoid another shutdown like this in the future." Read more at WBAL