Capital Region cities shut down streets so restaurants can expand outdoor dining

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Restaurants can finally serve customers again, but how can they do it as safely as possible as the pandemic continues on? The solution Capital Region cities came up with is getting as much outside seating as possible.

“Especially with having right now only 50 percent capacity, there’s only a few tables that we have inside, so the more tables that we are able to have outside, it’s just the more people that we can serve on a daily,” explains Mary Phan, co-owner of Lark Street Poke Bar.

Albany set up barricades around Lark Street, Jay Street, and Madison Avenue to give downtown restaurants as much space as possible to spread outside customers. They’ll be up at a minimum until July 31st.

The following parking lanes will be blocked off starting at 7 a.m. Monday, July 6:

  • East side of Lark Street between 286 Lark and 288 Lark
  • West side of Lark Street from 203 Lark to State Street, Hudson Avenue to 273 Lark, and 295 Lark to 301 Lark
  • North side of Jay Street from 229 Jay to Lark Street
  • South side of Madison Avenue between 456 Madison and 448 Madison
  • North side of Madison Avenue between 465 Madison and Willet Street

The owner of Pint Sized went the extra mile to really milk the outdoor experience with fake grass and lounge chairs to soak up the sun.

“It’s fun, light, catchy, people seem to enjoy it. Obviously it’s been a hard year and this is going to help us, you know not meet what success we had last year, but it’s going to help us, like you know move forward,” owner August Rosa explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Over in Troy, city leaders also want to help restaurants recoup revenue losses by greatly expanding the annual Summer Square program. In past years, it’s only been used on a smaller scale for outdoor concerts and events.

“This year with COVID-19, we decided we would try to expand it out to more of the city and make it available to anybody who basically has a restaurant as well. They can take over parking spaces, they can actually close down streets if it works for our emergency fire and medical and obviously police as well,” says Economic Development Director Dylan Turek.

Turek says Monument Square and Sage Park will be set up with outside picnic areas and select streets will be blocked off Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the summer to make pedestrian walkways. The following areas will be closed:

  • 2nd Street between State St. and River St.
  • Broadway between 3rd Street and River St.

He says the program will last through September and hopefully lift some spirits.

“This enables us to just go out there and maybe just smile at people as you’re walking down the street again. You have a little bit more room to walk, and you can kind of get back in the habit of having those small little interactions,” Turek says.

All our businesses and city leaders say they’re taking every precaution to make sure things stay clean and safe as well. The seating areas will be spaced six feet apart, and Troy will partner with Unity House to hire people to watch outdoor seating and sanitize as soon as people come and go.

Restaurants and businesses who would like to participate in the City of Troy’s Summer Square program can apply for a Special Events Permit to take over parking spaces or streets and will need to provide additional documentation, if requested. For more information, contact Dylan Turek at Dylan.turek@troyny.gov or call 518-279-7412.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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