Expanded outdoor seating, retail service areas coming to downtown

City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance during its Aug. 25 meeting to allow for the temporary expansion of outdoor seating and retail service areas within City right of way and parking spaces in downtown.

This program will provide residents and visitors with opportunities to dine and shop outdoors and give a needed economic boost to downtown businesses. While the Governor’s Orders have been necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, the restrictions on business activity have created economic hardships for many Georgetown small business owners.

Downtown business owners who apply for the program and are approved can use portions of the sidewalks and streets in front of their storefronts during specified days and times for restaurant dining and the display of retail goods. The new initiative is designed to help facilitate the physical distancing of patrons to comply with the current health orders and draw people to downtown to support establishments by shopping and eating locally.

For the upcoming Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-6, residents and visitors will have an opportunity to shop at sidewalk sales and dine downtown during the kick-off for extended outdoor seating and retail service areas. Traffic barriers will be installed in the parking spaces beginning on Friday, Sept. 4, and will remain up through Sunday, Sept. 6.

Signage indicating alternative parking spaces will be in place and parking areas on one side of each street will remain open. The downtown parking lots are available for all-day free parking as well. Supporting local businesses safely is critical at this time.

“This program will give businesses the opportunity to bring a higher level of comfort for our guests,” Roots owner Jeana Aliani said. “With our current health conditions, patrons feel more at ease dining outdoors versus indoors. Our business has suffered a tremendous loss in sales this year. … We appreciate the approval of the outdoor dining to help with a stronger and much needed recovery.”

The City asks participants to maintain 6 feet physical distancing, use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands, and wear a mask unless seated for food or beverage consumption.

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