Restaurant owners throughout the Triad have had to get creative in order to navigate their businesses through coronavirus regulations. Even with curbside pick-up, and special order dinners, many are still struggling. In Winston-Salem, some are asking city officials to consider closing off a section of downtown to allow for more socially distant dining.

The online petition, signed by nearly 2,000 people, aims to close portions of two main downtown arteries — 4th and Trade streets — on the weekends, and allow restaurants to replace the traffic with tables for outdoor eating. It's a plan that's especially appealing to owners amid COVID-19 spacing regulations that have cut deeply into their bottom line. 

Mission Pizza founder Peyton Smith. Photo courtesy of Peyton Smith.

Mission Pizza owner Peyton Smith says with 50 percent capacity restrictions for him and many other restaurateurs in town, it's literally a matter of survival. 

"Even if there were consumer demand, there's not a restaurant in the world that's designed to be anything but a loser at 50%," says Smith. "So, in order to bring in some revenue; in order to restore consumer confidence in the dining experience; we've got to go outdoors. It's the only answer."  

According to organizers, the initiative has garnered support from Mayor Allen Joines and the Downtown Partnership, but the city's police department has expressed concerns over safety and implementation. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.


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