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Annapolis City Council to consider extending COVID-19 state of emergency an additional 90 days

The Annapolis City Council is pondering over whether to extend the current state of emergency in the city by an additional 90 days.

Mayor Gavin Buckley declared a 30-day state-of-emergency on December 23rd amid a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. At its first meeting of 2022, the council will consider a resolution which would extend the emergency order through April 22.

“This is the new normal,” Buckley said Friday. “This variant is right on top of us; it’s happening right now and this is a short-term solution.” There are no closures or mandates with the emergency order Buckley announced two days before Christmas. 

The city is prepared to reinstate permissions for temporary outdoor dining in parking lots and municipal parking spaces. The permissions are similar to the outdoor dining permits that were issued in the “recovery zones” over the past two years.

Buckley said he plans to introduce legislation to establish permanent rules for outdoor dining to keep people from dining indoors, but that process could take “a few months.”

“What I’m trying to push toward is really adapting our outdoor event spaces, so that we can be prepared for the next wave,” he said. “I think there’s going to be another variant. I think that we’ve all accepted that this is going to be part of our lives from now on. And so, I think that we need to activate outdoor spaces for that reason.”

Buckley anticipates the extension being supported by the all-Democratic council and hopes they will suspend the rules to pass the resolution during the same meeting at which it is introduced. Some City Council members would like to discuss the merits of an extension in the city before granting it.

“I don’t know yet on the extension,” said Alderwoman Elly Tierney, D-Ward 1. “I do have some questions. … I guess I just want to know what the plan is.”

Claire Bowdren, co-owner of Forward Brewing, said she submitted an application immediately after Buckley’s emergency order was announced. The dining tables in the brewery’s parking lot have helped draw in visitors who are once again wary of dining indoors, she said.

“It’s been pretty immediate that we’ve seen people come and now stick around and be outdoors regardless of the weather, and bring their kids, and just feel more comfortable being outside right now,” Bowdren said. “I would say it’s pretty critical to us right now, and I think will be all winter as we are still not even in the peak of omicron probably.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CAPITAL GAZETTE

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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