Portland proposes street closures as part of plan to help restaurants, retailers reopen

The City of Portland is proposing a plan to temporarily close several downtown streets in the interest of supporting small businesses. If approved, it would allow restaurants and stores to expand onto public and private property for seating or retail space. Karen Doughty is the current owner of Anthony’s Family Kitchen. Her father founded the business more than 20 years ago. Her Old Port restaurant switched to takeout-only due to the coronavirus two months ago. She estimates the move has resulted in a 70% loss in business. “After 28 years of doing this, my dad started this up and us being in this family business together, it has been an enormous shift,” said Doughty. A plan put forward by city leaders in Portland might help. Six downtown streets would be temporarily closed to allow businesses to use sidewalks, parking lots, plazas and parklets. The city says six-foot social distancing measures are required.The proposed street closures include:Cotton Street (from Spring Street to Fore Street) Dana Street Exchange Street (from Fore Street to Federal Street) Milk Street (from Exchange Street to Market Street, and Silver Street to Pearl Street) Middle Street (from Franklin Street to India Street) Wharf StreetCity of Portland spokesperson Jessica Grondin says the plan could allow businesses to serve customers at full capacity. “Obviously with the social distancing guidance that they have to follow in terms of spacing people out, a lot of them wouldn’t be able to do that with just their inside space,” said Grondin. If the plan moves ahead, street closures would remain in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The city says access will only be allowed for delivery vehicles and residents.The plan is slated to go before the city’s Economic Development Council Thursday and the full council next Monday. If approved the street closures could remain in effect through November.

The City of Portland is proposing a plan to temporarily close several downtown streets in the interest of supporting small businesses. If approved, it would allow restaurants and stores to expand onto public and private property for seating or retail space.

Karen Doughty is the current owner of Anthony’s Family Kitchen. Her father founded the business more than 20 years ago. Her Old Port restaurant switched to takeout-only due to the coronavirus two months ago. She estimates the move has resulted in a 70% loss in business.

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“After 28 years of doing this, my dad started this up and us being in this family business together, it has been an enormous shift,” said Doughty.

A plan put forward by city leaders in Portland might help. Six downtown streets would be temporarily closed to allow businesses to use sidewalks, parking lots, plazas and parklets. The city says six-foot social distancing measures are required.

The proposed street closures include:

  • Cotton Street (from Spring Street to Fore Street)
  • Dana Street
  • Exchange Street (from Fore Street to Federal Street)
  • Milk Street (from Exchange Street to Market Street, and Silver Street to Pearl Street)
  • Middle Street (from Franklin Street to India Street)
  • Wharf Street

City of Portland spokesperson Jessica Grondin says the plan could allow businesses to serve customers at full capacity.

“Obviously with the social distancing guidance that they have to follow in terms of spacing people out, a lot of them wouldn’t be able to do that with just their inside space,” said Grondin.

If the plan moves ahead, street closures would remain in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The city says access will only be allowed for delivery vehicles and residents.

The plan is slated to go before the city’s Economic Development Council Thursday and the full council next Monday. If approved the street closures could remain in effect through November.