City Council discusses proposal to close downtown streets, add outdoor dining

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council learned more about a proposal to close streets in Downtown Wilmington to accommodate outdoor dining while restrictions are in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The street closures would be considered a temporary special event and run from Thursday through Sunday.

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Streets would be closed on Thursdays and Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cars must be out of the area an hour before streets close.

In the plan presented to Wilmington City Council, the areas that would close include Front Street between Chesnutt and Dock Streets and Princess Place between Front and Third Streets.

Instead of using sawhorses to block the streets, the city is looking at using more rigid barricades.

It’s estimated to cost around $90,000 to implement the plan. The money will be spent on staffing at barricades, security officers, management fees, and on a special event insurance policy.

Businesses must submit a temporary use application for expanded outdoor seating. Because the outdoor dining area is an extension of indoor dining, no smoking will be allowed in the extended areas.

The final proposed plan will be presented to city council next week. If it’s approved, the street closures will kickoff June 25 and end the Tuesday after Labor Day, or when Governor Roy Cooper lifts restrictions on capacity inside restaurants.