CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – This weekend, Charleston restaurants are, again, serving outside on Capitol Street.
Mayor Amy Goodwin has closed Capitol Street every weekend, to allow for more outdoor dining.
“I see a lot of my friends out here,” said John Lukens, a regular on Capitol Street since 1961. “It’s great it really is!”
“Receipts for those restaurants are now at 80/90% where they were pre-COVID,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin adds this has generally been a very good thing for businesses downtown; some have even said it should become a permanent pedestrian mall.
But now, a few weeks in, and there are concerns.
Goodwin says the city has been receiving tips that some people are not social distancing.
“That’s not the intention of outdoor dining,” she said. “I want you downtown – I want you eating. But I need you in a socially distant manner.”
She says this weekend is acting as a “make or break” weekend.
“We will be taking a very close look this weekend to see that it’s working – not from just a revenue standpoint but for the safety of all of our residents,” she said.
Ensuring the safety of residents like John Lukens.
“I’m a veteran of these streets,” Lukens said. “Every day is a precious day and I try not to waste it. So I think maybe I’ll have a beer.”
The mayor also closed Kanawha Boulevard every Sunday for the month of August.
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