Restaurants on North Charles face hardship with virtual learning

In December, Mayor Brandon Scott announced a ban on both indoor and outdoor dining. In January, dining was able to resume with indoor seating capped at 25% capacity and outdoor capped at 50% capacity. A one-hour time limit was imposed. Last week, Scott finally lifted the time limit requirement.

Although restaurants across the city have been allowed to reopen with these restrictions, the amount of business just isn’t the same. On North Charles St., restaurants have been hit exceptionally hard since most of their clientele, University of Baltimore students and staff, haven’t been on campus in almost a year.

Restaurants on North Charles St. that are a bit closer to campus include Turp’s, Viccino’s (formally Jay’s Deli), XS, and Chicken and the Egg. 

Of these places, only two of them are closed until further notice. 

Turp’s, an American pub style restaurant, and XS, a breakfast and sushi fusion restaurant/bar, are the only two restaurants closed until further notice. XS did have a sign posted on their door about the possibility of returning in the fall.

Both Turps and XS were quite popular among students because they offered a wide variety of food options and a setting where students could go to relax and drink (if they were of age).

Chain restaurants further south on North Charles include Chipotle, Subway, and Smoothie King, though these places haven’t been affected by the pandemic as much since they already had a strong takeaway business. These establishments also had the flexibility of using apps like DoorDash or Grubhub. 

Grille Twelve 24, another popular spot for students, also has an extensive amount of carryout options that have helped them weather the storm. Aloha Sushi has been able to support itself with a similar range of carryout options and an in-house liquor store.

Due to the many obstacles and restrictions put in place, Covid-19 has caused over 17% of restaurants to close nationwide. 

With new vaccination programs and restrictions beginning to ease, restaurants on North Charles St. are optimistic that they will soon be able to reopen, even before students and staff return to campus.

CJ Rhem is a senior writer for The Sting.

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