HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Monday, a block of both East Queen and and Mellen Street will be closed off to vehicle traffic and replaced with dining tables.

Part of the Phase 1 Virginia reopening plan which began Friday includes allowing outdoor seating at restaurants at 50% capacity. The City of Hampton announced a plan to help restaurant owners expand that capacity.

“I’m pleased to share that this was an idea that our entire council embraced when the city team suggested it. And that is that we are going to be closing parts of Queens Way and Mellen Street so that our restaurants in Downtown and Phoebus can actually have outdoor seating, which is something that the governor’s order does allow,” City Manager Mary Bunting announced during a Facebook Live Thursday evening.

The city says current outdoor seating capacity at restaurants in Hampton is pretty limited.

Restaurants can now apply for temporary dining permits.

Bunting says she expects the approval to be a quick process.

Restaurants wishing to serve alcohol in their expanded outdoor areas would also need to apply to the Virginia ABC. That approval process will also be expedited.

Thursday, the City of Virginia Beach also approved temporary changes to its city code to provide restaurants there with options to expand outdoor seating. Norfolk is also considering street closures.

Related: VB City Council allows restaurants to expand seating outdoors during pandemic

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