Downtown Wilmington to expand outdoor dining throughout summer


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Things are looking up for downtown Wilmington businesses that suffered losses due to COVID-19 as the city council unanimously votes to expand outdoor dining through Labor Day.

The initiative is called Downtown Alive and started off as a way to help businesses during COVID-19 restrictions. However, it has evolved into a larger movement.

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Sections of some downtown streets will close to traffic during certain hours Thursdays – Sundays, allowing restaurants and stores to expand dining and retail onto the sidewalk and street.

Street closures will follow this schedule: Thursdays and Fridays 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Front Street will close between Market St. and Chestnut St. and between Market St. and Dock St.

Princess Street will close between Front St. and 2nd St. and between 2nd St. and 3rd St.

Downtown Business Alliance President Terry Espy reacted to the unanimous vote Tuesday night saying the goal is not only to help suffering businesses, but also to promote social distancing and safety.

“To see 15, 16 city staff members and the downtown organizations working hand in hand to make this happen, that’s pretty unheard of,” Espy said. “We are distributing over 1,000 face masks to them to hand out just in case someone shows up that maybe forgot theirs.”

Downtown Alive will kick off Thursday and continue every weekend through Labor Day. The project will cost the city $109,500 for things like barricades and special event security.

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