BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Restaurants on Chippewa between Franklin and Delaware will be able to expand their sidewalk dining into the road, according to restaurant owners on the block.
Chris Ring, a partner at Rec Room, said the block will be closed to cars starting Friday at 2 p.m.
“The whole concept is how do we get more people to come downtown to Chippewa, and enjoy the restaurants that are down here, and the food," he said.
The patios will open at 5 p.m. Friday. The patios will close daily at 11 p.m. The street will remain closed to traffic through Labor Day.
The patios will be able to expand into parking spaces. According to Ring the participating restaurants are:
- Buffalo Tap House
- Local Kitchen & Beer Bar
- Rec Room
Stephanie Smith owns Buffalo Tap House and said she's been waiting two months to be able to do this.
“We’re just bringing in some tables, we’re going to have flowers with boating line through them to make our own fence," she said. "Everyone needs a fence around to be compliant.”
"Do not stand" until further notice signs line the street, and are already in effect. A spokesperson for the Buffalo Police Department confirms to 7 Eyewitness News that the signs are for outdoor dining.
Ring said the Chippewa Alliance surveyed local residents about how comfortable they feel when it comes to dining during COVID-19. and that the overwhelming response was that respondents felt more comfortable when they were eating outdoors.
He said the project is part of the city's Reopen Buffalo small business social distancing initiative.
Ring said security guards will be present on the weekend to help with any congestion. The patios are closing at 11 p.m. to help keep the focus on dining and not partying.
“We want to alleviate the idea that this is a place to hang out," Ring said. "This is really a place to come down, maybe check out a new restaurant, check out new food, but by no means are we pushing this as an open air street festival.”
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Ring said there's been discussion of closing more blocks on Chippewa, as well as continuing past Labor Day depending on how things progress.