Georgetown eateries getting help from town to expand outdoor dining

The town of Georgetown has barricaded a section of South Race Street and placed picnic tables on the street for expanded outdoor dining for patrons of nearby restaurants. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

GEORGETOWN – To help restaurants shut down during COVID-19 get back on their financial feet, the town of Georgetown is taking it to the street.

The plan, according to Georgetown Mayor Bill West, is to close off a portion of South Race Street between East Market Street and East Pine Street and place picnic tables on the street for outside dining.

The goal is to enhance business at restaurants permitted to reopen indoor seating at 30-percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1.

“With only 30 percent of their seating capacity able to be used they are not going to be able to stay afloat with no more than 30-percent income,” said Mayor West. “So, we wanted to look at ways we could help them, attract more people and feed more people to make more money. We’re going to have four picnic tables right now, and we might end up putting up six.”

“Plus, the (Georgetown) Little League has called us and said, ‘Hey, if you need more picnic tables let us know, you can take ours,” said Mayor West. “It’s a great community thing that is happening.”

On May 19, Gov. Carney announced that retail establishments in Delaware may operate by appointment only beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20. In addition, restaurants, bars, taprooms and craft breweries may apply to expand outdoor seating capacity to safely serve additional customers when the businesses are authorized to reopen, under Gov. Carney’s directive.

Applications to expand outdoor seating capacity were to be made available Friday, May 22.

Under the plan for expanded outside dining developed by Mayor West and Georgetown Town Manager Eugene Dvornick, notices have been sent to businesses that tables will be “ready for use, when authorized,” Mayor West said.

Jersey-type barricades will be used to block off the portion of the street, Mayor West said.

Restaurants in that immediate area include Caruso’s, which is planning to open at its new East Market Street location, Georgetown Family Restaurant on East Market Street, The Counting House on The Circle and even Domino’s on South Race Street.

Additional outdoor seating is planned with tables behind the Café on The Circle and Georgetown Town Hall on The Circle.

The portion of South Race Street to be blocked off will not impede parking access for employees at county and state offices and courts, Mayor West said.

In addition, the town is considering outside dining options for eateries in College Park, notably JD Shuckers Seafood Grill & Raw Bar and Bella Capri Restaurant & Grill.

“We’ve also let JD Shuckers and Bella Capri know; we’ve sent them plans on what four spots we think is feasible for them to block off and put picnic tables in so they could do some outside dining,” Mayor West.

Again, Mayor West says the bottom line is supporting local business in time of need.

“It wouldn’t really be worth them to open for no more than that 30 percent,” said Mayor West. “If we can give them 30 percent inside and maybe we can give them 30 or 40 percent sales as take-outs and people eating at the tables, I think we’re doing a huge justice for these restaurants, and showing them that we care and we don’t want to lose them.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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