AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Amherst Chamber of Commerce has launched an effort to "Save Main Street" restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chamber is asking the Town of Amherst to waive permits and allow restaurants on Main Street in Williamsville and in the Town of Amherst to repurpose space on sidewalks, street-side parking areas and parking lots to allow for more room for outdoor dining areas.
“Our restaurants need to utilize all the resources they can to help bring back patrons to their businesses,” said Amherst Chamber of Commerce President/CEO A. J. Baynes. “With the summer season upon us, allowing more outdoor dining will help establishments enact social distancing while maintaining greater occupancy levels.”
The chamber says "flex zones" can be created to provide a quick and affordable way to make space for new uses, like pop-up dining or curbside pick-up zones.
Officials pointed out this plan is already being used in cities across the country and currently being considered by the City of Buffalo.
“Social distancing and limited indoor capacity requirements will severely hamper the number of customers we can serve,” said Chuck Mauro, owner of four restaurants. “Making the most of the summer season will be key to keeping my restaurants afloat.”