CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — As the tulips bloom all over Charleston, more people will get to enjoy dining outside among them.
On Monday, the City of Charleston announced it is bringing outdoor dining back to downtown after a successful pilot run last year.
It was essentially a lifeline for struggling restaurants.
“When we started our outdoor dining, it was an instant and immediate success,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin.
Goodwin says local restaurants saw ‘New Year’s Eve receipts’ with outdoor dining in the middle of the pandemic.
Some women 13 News approached said they think the city should make it permanent.
“It’s nice out, more space, it makes people feel good,” they said.
But before the city can do that, or expand the outdoor dining model to areas beyond downtown, Goodwin says they need to figure out the full impact of the logistics of the street closures.
“We have to make sure that this type of closure of these streets works for everyone,” she said.
That means to businesses aside from restaurants and bars.
Up on Bridge Road, another restaurant hub, Caffe Romeo owner Melissa Beulike says her outdoor seating space was heaven-sent during the pandemic.
She thinks Bridge Road isn’t as accommodating for detouring traffic as Hale and Capitol streets are, still, she’d like to see a pilot of the outdoor dining model there.
“I think it would be nice to do even if it was just a day on the weekend, you know as long as there’s ample parking for everyone; we don’t want it to be an inconvenience to the other businesses or people who live here,” said Beulike.
Because even as restaurants go back to full capacity, things won’t be the same.
“As we move forward, dining is going to look a lot different for a long period of time and we need to make sure that we’re accomodating our businesses to be able to do that,” said Shuler.
The block closures on Hale and Capitol streets will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, through 11 p.m. Saturday.
Outdoor dining will run through Labor Day 2021.