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Business Inclusion & Advancement

Posted on: July 16, 2020

City Schedules Trial of In-Street Dining for Downtown Restaurants July 25

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NEWS RELEASE
Business Inclusion & Advancement
July 16, 2020 

The city and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership are scheduled to test on July 25 a proposal to close portions of downtown streets on weekend nights to allow restaurants to set up tables in the street and serve more patrons within the restrictions of the state’s Phase 2 protocols.

For the test, Fourth Street will be closed between Marshall and Liberty Streets from 4 to 11 p.m. The sidewalks will be closed and a ten-foot-wide path down the middle of the street will be set up for pedestrians, said Ken Millett, the city’s director of business inclusion and advancement. Cherry Street, which crosses the closed area, will remain open to traffic. 

“We’ll be looking to see not only if it was of a benefit to the restaurants, but also its effect on other downtown stakeholders, including businesses, residents and people travelling through downtown,” Millett said.

The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership will be responsible for setting up the closure, for notifying downtown businesses and residents of the street closure, for providing private staffing to ensure social distancing and for providing off-duty police officers to ensure safety.

Restaurants located in the test area that want to participate in the trial will have to add the city under their liability insurance. Restaurants that serve alcohol will also have to add the city under their liquor liability insurance. Copies of the amended insurance certificates will be due to the city by July 22.

Patrons will be allowed to consume beer, wine and mixed drinks only at their tables. They may not carry alcoholic drinks from one restaurant or business to another. Patrons will be required to wear masks to and from their tables. Once seated they may remove their masks.

If the test is deemed successful, the city and the partnership hope to implement the closure on additional weekends, Millett said. The city would also consider closing other downtown blocks on a case-by-case basis.

“Before we can approve other locations, we have to look at the width of the street, how a closure would affect traffic flow, the impact on surrounding residents and businesses and the level of support from restaurants in the area,” Millett said. “There may be restaurants that are only offering to-go service or curbside delivery, and closing their block may negatively affect their business. So there are lot of factors to consider.

“But if this test is successful and it is feasible to expand the program to additional downtown blocks, we’re open to the idea. We are all in this together and want to do what we can to help our downtown restaurants.”

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