ST. MICHAELS — Three restaurant owners from St. Michaels came together to create a list of rules designed to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19.

Del. Johnny Mautz, owner of Carpenter Street Saloon in St. Michaels and a Republican representing Talbot County in the state House of Delegates, met up with Terye Knopp, owner of Foxy’s Harbor Grill, and Chris Agharabi, owner of Ava’s Pizzeria and Theo’s, to work out a way to help with some of the confusion surrounding COVID-19 guidelines.

“We all agreed that there is an aura of COVID fatigue.” Mautz said. “People are fatigued about all the information that they’ve gotten about COVID, and there’s a lot of confusion. And there’s a little understanding the fact that sometimes one day can be different than the next.”

“We’ve got challenges running our businesses for our employees and for our guests and for ourselves,” Mautz added. “We started talking to come up with some guidelines to just put on paper.”

Their list, which also had input from other St. Michaels restaurant owners, is titled “Staying Ahead of the Curve” and includes a list of commitments that restaurants will make to the customers, as well as a list of things the restaurants ask of the customers.

Mautz, Knopp and Agharabi compiled the list and forwarded it to other local restaurants, who all supported the effort and added to the list.

“They’ve all said, ‘Yes, absolutely. We need to get this clear information out to everyone to provide some reliable, clear ideas that we can all look to as we kind of go through the day-to-day trials and tribulations,’” Mautz said.

“A lot of these things are already being done,” Agharabi said. “It’s just letting people know this is what we do and this is what you can expect from us. We want you to follow the rules that are out there. Most people are already doing this, it just formalizes it to say we’re unified doing this.”

Mautz added that the list is not designed to supplant or replace oversight and regulation from the local health department, but rather a way to support local efforts.

“You know, the health department is overwhelmed. The county is overwhelmed. Towns are overwhelmed. The police are stretched thin,” Mautz said. “And we thought it would be our way of contributing to the effort here to promote public health and public safety. And, you know, with that comes happiness, right? We will make everybody happy.”

The list they developed reads:

Our commitment to you:

  • All employees wear masks at all times.
  • Staff temperatures are taken when they report to work, and when they depart.
  • Our buildings are sanitized daily with an antiviral aerosol mister.
  • All hard surfaces are sanitized throughout the day.
  • Tables are sanitized between all guests.
  • All guest seating is separated by 6 ft.
  • We will not seat more than 6 people per table.
  • We will not permit gathering or standing at bars.
  • We will make sure all guests are seated for dining or drinking.
  • We will post the proper social distancing signs and guidelines.
  • We will listen to your concerns.

What we ask from you:

  • Please do not come in if you are feeling ill, have a fever, or are showing symptoms.
  • Please, enter the restaurant with a mask.
  • Please sit at a table wearing a mask.
  • Order from waitstaff wearing a mask.
  • Feel free to remove your mask when beverages and food arrive — eat, drink and enjoy your meal.
  • Please, politely raise your mask whenever you speak to the waitstaff.
  • Please put your mask on if you visit the restroom during your visit.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water before returning to your table after using the restroom.
  • Please leave the restaurant wearing your mask.

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