BRIGHTON, Mich. – Several cities around Metro Detroit are closing downtown streets to drivers and giving restaurants more space for outdoor dining.
This should help restaurants maintain social distancing and avoid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as businesses gets back up and running.
Right now, officials from Brighton, Ann Arbor, Northville and Plymouth have confirmed plans to close streets for increased dining space.
Brighton and Ann Arbor have already began closing streets. Northville will do so Tuesday. Plymouth plans to put tables in parking spaces and allow traffic to go past.
Main Street in Downtown Brighton is usually difficult to cross because of traffic, but right now, there’s a barricade that closes it from Grand River Avenue to First Street.
It’s been a long three months for closed businesses, so cities are trying to give them some extra space.
Restaurants can only have half of their tables available inside, so as the weather breaks, moving outside is an option for making up for the lost capacity.
Dan Favor said he and his wife heard about the downtown dining option on Facebook and couldn’t resist.
“There’ll be more seating instead of being cooped up, and social distancing with fewer tables -- come out in the street and make some money and have a good time,” Favor said.
Astrid Payapilly, of Ann Arbor, went to Brighton with her husband. They believe the city made the right decision.
“Believe me, everybody’s ready for some birds to fly,” Payapilly said. “This is what you want to set up outside. I love it.”
Brighton’s Henry Outlaw is overseeing the project. He thinks music or other amenities would help, too.
“This is the first weekend we’re doing this sort of thing, and we really want to feel what the needs are and what people are interested in and expand that way in the future,” Outlaw said.
Finding parking might be a challenge, but Downtown Brighton is expected to keep its new configuration through Labor Day weekend.