Last year, Kingston allowed businesses to expand outdoor dining and retail operations onto city sidewalks and streets to help cut down on crowds in indoor spaces, where coronaviruses spread best. The decision followed the results of surveys in which city residents and businesses expressed support for the idea. This week, the city put up another round of surveys asking residents and businesses if they would like to see the same thing this year.
Last year’s surveys were released in June. They included a few options for outdoor dining/retail expansion: an open-streets concept, utilizing parking spaces for outdoor dining and retail, and/or using other public spaces for expansion. The public response was “overwhelmingly positive, and the restaurants and shops who participated created truly special, unique spaces in parking stalls adjacent to their storefronts,” according to release from the mayor’s office.
The new surveys ask if the program should be renewed beginning April 1 of this year, weather depending.
“Kingston businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic — they’ve had to keep up with evolving health and safety protocols, protect their employees and customers, and in some cases pivot to new service concepts,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “We support our local businesses and want to help in their recovery efforts. We are asking businesses and the public to weigh in and tell us if they would like to see the outdoor expansion concept revived for spring 2021, and what new ideas might improve the initiative.”
“Outdoor dining was such a huge success in the fall, it would be great if it were [continued] throughout the warm weather season,” said Don Tallerman, alderman. “This will help all retail businesses in our city.”
“The ability to spend time with friends and family in a social setting has benefits for us all,” said Robert Gaston, president of Kingston Uptown Business Association. “Dining alfresco in Kingston has provided a great solution for many businesses and customers. I hope you’ll agree that the outdoor expansion concept has potential to outlast our pandemic.”
To take the surveys, visit www.engagekingston.com/spring-outdoor-dining-retail-survey.