Members of the Police Commission voted unanimously this month to allow restaurants to keep their altered outdoor dining set-ups—where tables are pushed out onto sidewalks and new pedestrian access ways are created in the street—through year’s end. Created in May and extended periodically since then, the temporary sidewalk and parking configurations on Main, Elm and Forest Streets are designed to give additional outdoor dining space to restaurants that have been under changing capacity restrictions since the onset of COVID-19 virus. (Currently, under the governor’s order, they’re allowed no more than 50% capacity total between indoor and outdoor dining.)
Police Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the extension during the Nov. 18 meeting, held via videoconference. Chef Luke Venner of elm restaurant, a guest at the meeting, said “anything helps at this point for us.”
“I think we had looked into the idea of having some sort of enclosure but at this point in the game I don’t know if that makes sense,” he said.