Judge Upholds Montgomery County Indoor Dining Ban

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A judge upheld Montgomery County, Maryland's ban on indoor dining Wednesday evening.

Another hearing will be held in 10 days.

Thirty-three restaurants sued to stop County Executive Marc Elrich’s executive order banning indoor dining, saying outdoor and carryout dining only bring in about 25% of the revenue they need.

Witnesses testified that 800 restaurants, 45% of Montgomery County’s restaurants, could close.

“I’ve had to let go 40% of the staff, and the 60% that are still working are only working about 25% of the hours that they normally would, which means it’s having a huge impact on their lives,” said Robbie Gilroy from the Stained Glass Pub, who testified at a hearing Wednesday.

The attorney for the restaurants says the indoor dining ban causes “irreparable harm … a certain death knell to the restaurant industry.”

Montgomery County lawyers argued Elrich issued the executive order and the county council approved it and a temporary restraining order “would undermine steps to protect residents of Montgomery County. It would put countless people at risk of infection and death.”

Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles testified that contact tracing indicates indoor dining poses a high risk, but medical experts that testified for the restaurants said social gatherings are just as dangerous.

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