NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Phase 1 initiatives as part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan are underway in Norfolk, changing traffic patterns and moving dining tables into parking spaces.
Downtown Norfolk Council sent out an email Tuesday answering frequently asked questions about the changes in downtown under OpenNorfolk, a program that aims to help businesses reopen and begin financial recovery while still adhering to the governor’s COVID-19 regulations.
The OpenNorfolk program already has more than 70 businesses that signed on to participate by receiving free help relocating safe dining areas outdoors, building parklets, placing furniture, and helping with outdoor lighting and signage.
Boush Street has been reduced to one lane in each direction from Martin’s Lane at Waterside Drive to Bute Street to make room for free two-hour parking on the street as well as a multi-use path for people to get to their cars, walk their dogs, and exercise while maintaining 6-feet of physical distance.
The lane closures and extra parking on Boush Street will be in place until further notice.
Restaurants have also used some on-street parking to create temporary dining areas on Granby Street. Those changes started on May 15.
Business owners are allowed to have on-street dining in pedestrian-oriented corridors and dining in private parking lots during the phase 1 reopening period.
Physical distancing and informational signage have been posted around the area. Downtown Norfolk Council also released some street diagrams to show the phase 1 changes.
The changes aim to help businesses get back up and running in a “safe, healthy, and responsible way,” the Downtown Norfolk Council said.
The OpenNorfolk program team:
- Provides clear guidance to small business owners and a toolkit to help them expand into either their own outdoor space (parking lots and yards) or in the public right-of-way (sidewalks, parking spaces, etc.) on pedestrian commercial corridors.
- Provides hands-on assistance to business owners who would like a small team of people to help them move their own furniture, provide outdoor furnishings, or build them a parklet or other temporary furnishings for outdoor dining.
The OpenNorfolk free resource guide and toolkit with downloadable guides, signs, and stencils are available for businesses at norfolk.gov/OpenNorfolk. Any small business interested should email OpenNorfolk.
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