The Summer Business Initiative is a way to support local restaurants and bars during these challenging times.
HARRISBURG, PA. – With COVID-19 restrictions eased, business owners have more to look forward to: the return of Saturday nights to the city in downtown Harrisburg.
The summer business initiative began in June last year when al fresco dining was allowed for the first time in the pandemic. The incentive is a partnership between the City of Harrisburg and the Downtown Improvement District.
Todd Vander Woude, executive director of the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District, says this is a way to support local businesses.
"It really increases the capacity for the downtown restaurants and gives it a unique feel," said Vander Woude.
Entrepreneurs told FOX43 they were excited about the return because it was helpful last June.
"Last year this was the only thing we could really have to ourselves as businesses were only take-away," said Adam Sturges, owner of McGrath & # 39; s Pub.
While this return welcomes an increase in capacity, the security guidelines for COVID-19 remain in place. Sturges says he is aware of this and his team is prepared.
"We still disinfect the way we do. You will never see our employees without a mask and eat with gloves and only let the little things go."
When more people come in and enjoy themselves, business owners also say it creates a sense of positivity.
"It's nice to have people there, to interact, to have conversations and to move away from there. It's very nice that they are outside and being seen," said James Zentichko, Deputy General Manager of "Aroogas Grille House & Sports Bar" .
The initiative also provides stability for employees as the pandemic has caused many people to quit, according to Sturges.
"It's commonplace whether the bartenders and chefs can stay in the industry," he said. "If they don't give the tips every day, they won't come back."
Mayor Papenfuse is confident that this year's return will bring the city one step closer to normal.
"I think we will be stronger than ever," said Mayor Papenfuse.
The streets are closed at 3:30 p.m. every Saturday. so businesses can start expanding outdoors at 5:00 p.m. and end at 10 p.m.
The following streets in the city close at 3:30 p.m. Saturdays:
N. Second St. – From Market to Pine St.State St. – Church to N. Second WestboundNorth St. – Susquehanna to Third St.Conoy St.
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