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Downtown Winston-Salem offers sidewalk dining to benefit restaurants, businesses, and residents amid coronavirus

The city of Winston-Salem said fourth street will be closed between Marshall and liberty street from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The city of Winston-Salem and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership are temporarily closing parts of downtown streets Saturday night to allow restaurants and businesses set up tables in the street amid the coronavirus.

The test scheduled Saturday is to serve more people during North Carolina’s Phase 2 restrictions.

The city said fourth street will be closed between Marshall and liberty street from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Ken Millett, the city's director of business inclusion and advancement said sidewalks will be closed and a ten-foot-wide path down the middle of the street will be set up for pedestrians.

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

The city said Cherry Street will remain open to traffic.

Millett said if the test is deemed successful, the city and partnership hope to start more street closings on weekends.

“The city would also consider closing other downtown blocks on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

The city said the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership will be responsible for setting up the closure, notifying downtown businesses and residents about streets being closed, providing private staffing to make sure people are social distancing and providing off-duty police officers for safety.

The organization said restaurants in the test area that want to participate in the trial will have to add the city under their liability insurance and said restaurants who serve alcohol will have to add the city under their liquor liability insurance.

"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.”

Millett said there are a lot of factors to consider.

The city said people will be allowed to consume beer, wine and mixed drinks only at their tables, but may not carry alcoholic drinks from one restaurant or business to another.

The organization said people will be required to wear masks to and from their tables and can remove their masks after they are seated.

“We are all in this together and want to do what we can to help our downtown restaurants," Millett said.


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