Local Restaurants Part of Suit Against Recent COVID Restrictions

A group of Montgomery County restaurants and bars, including several in Silver Spring, has filed suit against Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich objecting to the terms of the most recent Executive Order 139-20AM2.

The order, approved by the County Council, eliminated indoor dining and provided other restrictions, as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The owners of Olazzo on Georgia Avenue, Sheger Spring Café at 900 Silver Spring Ave., and Palisades Lounge at 8211 Georgia Ave. are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed Dec. 18 in Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs principally take issue with the order’s claim that the restrictions are “necessary and reasonable” in order to prevent the virus’ spread.

“Restaurants and bars are not a significant source of COVID contamination,” the suit reads. “There is no support for the proposition that destroying the food service industry in Montgomery County will have any material impact on the rate of transmission of COVID-19.”

The plaintiffs then claim that closing these establishments would “cause immeasurable, immediate and irreparable injury to citizens of Montgomery County,” specifically restaurant employees, owners, suppliers, those who service and maintain the industry, landlords and property owners.

The plaintiffs go on to add that in the absence of open food service outlets, people would be more likely to gather in homes or offices and that this, in fact, would increase the spread of the virus.

For those and other reasons, the suits asks the court to grant a Temporary Restraining Order, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief from the restrictions on the food service industry in the Executive Order.

Similar suits have been filed in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. A judge in Anne Arundel County recently blocked a similar executive order, according to The Baltimore Sun.

A hearing on the Montgomery County suit is scheduled for tomorrow morning, according to Bethesda Beat.

Image from Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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