Restaurants across Baltimore can participate in this year’s Summer Restaurant Week free of charge for the first time in recent years.
Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. and Visit Baltimore are waiving the $150 fee that restaurants would normally pay to participate in the event as a measure of support for the city’s restaurants after April’s unrest took a toll on the hospitality industry.
A citywide 10 p.m. curfew at the end of April caused a widespread loss of business, followed by low transaction numbers across the board in the months since.
“We were sensitive to the economics of it for the restaurants,” said Mike Evitts, vice president at Downtown Partnership. “We didn’t want to put the extra economic burden on them.”
The fee is normally collected to fund marketing for the event, but Evitts said promotion won’t fall this year without it. With close to 100 restaurants already registered to participate, Downtown Partnership, along with Visit Baltimore, was forced to shuffle its budgets and dip into a rainy day fund to cover the $15,000 the groups would have collected in fees.