Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Marty Hageman from Downtown Visions and Jennifer Kmiec from The Committee of 100 announced“Curbside Wilmington,” a new initiative designed to support local businesses and encourage patrons to return to downtown this summer.
“Curbside Wilmington” will enable downtown restaurants to expand their outdoor dining into former parking spaces directly in front of their businesses, allowing more seating that allows for social distancing, a release stated.
Cities and counties have been encouraged by the state to use sidewalks and other areas as a way to expand outdoor dining options for patrons that see added risks with indoor service.
Restaurants are currently limited to 30 percent of fire code occupancy. That figure will rise to 60 percent on Monday. However social distancing requirements between tables may limit capacity below 60 percent.
Also, curbside pull-in spots have been designated throughout the Downtown area for all businesses, both retail and restaurants, to use for pick-up and curbside delivery.A list of participating restaurants is included at the end of this release.
The initiative comes after the Market Street was hit by vandalism and scattered looting after a weekend protest over the death of George Flloyd.
The city has been working to attract more people to dine downtown but has faced issues over crime perceptions from suburban dwellers, predatory towing practices, and aggressive parking meter enforcement.
The mayor said he hopes to see this new business re-opening model applied to other restaurant districts in the city in the weeks ahead. “We are bringing back the vibrant, exciting heart of the downtown restaurant district, which the COVID-19 pandemic virtually shut down overnight a few months ago,” said Purzycki. “While businesses small and large across Wilmington are struggling to adapt to the new environment, we are happy to partner with our friends at Downtown Visions and The Committee of 100 to lend support to businesses trying to meet new challenges.”
Jennifer Kmiec said The Committee of 100 is also pleased to support “Curbside Wilmington” to provide enhanced outdoor dining experiences and convenient pick-up/delivery zones to help downtown restaurants and retailers.
Downtown Visions will provide additional tables and chairs to restaurants as needed, and custom-made railings created by the Challenge Program will be used for both safety and esthetical purposes. free valet service through Gala Valet will be available starting this week to allow customers to safely park Downtown to dine and/or shop. The service will be available Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at three locations: the intersections of 5th and Market, 7thand Market, and 9th and Market streets.
Also, downtown residents will be allowed to park in Colonial Parking lots for free by calling Colonial directly at 302.651.3600. The city and its partners thanked JP Morgan Chase for its support of the new “Curbside Wilmington” effort and The Grand for providing outdoor space at its theater for music and entertainment.
Participating restaurants include:
Bardea Food & Drink
Farmer & The Cow
Green Box Kitchen
La Fia Bistro
Stitch House Brewery
Tonic Bar & Grille