Weekend dining-out options during the COVID-19 pandemic have just increased for the foreseeable future in downtown Huntington.
Starting Saturday, sections of Wall and New streets in the downtown area will be closed every Saturday and Sunday for outdoor dining from local restaurants.
On-street parking will be prohibited on both streets between Gerard Street and West Carver Street from 4 a.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Monday.
Main, Gerard and West Carver streets will remain open for through traffic.
“We’ve been working with restaurants on Wall Street and New Street who reached out to see if we would close the streets to help supplement these restaurants’ current dining capacities and help make up for the lost revenue from the shutdown,” said Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.
In early June, town officials announced they were fast-tracking permit approvals for businesses seeking to recapture customers as the region headed into Phase 2 of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
One of those ideas was expanding the location of outdoor dining and retail sales and waiving permit application fees to temporarily allow merchants to create street markets and restaurants to expand their outdoor dining onto public property, such as sidewalks and municipal parking lots.
The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals created a simplified application process to offer temporary on-premises outdoor dining on private property, including areas not typically used for that purpose, such as sections of parking lots on private property.
Lupinacci said the town has also added socially-distanced picnic tables at the ends of the closed streets for takeout dining from any restaurant downtown.
“Fortunately, the street layout in the village supported this type of ongoing ‘street dining’ area and we are excited to see the results,” Lupinacci said.
Alcohol consumption is prohibited in the Town of Huntington-designated dining area and wearing a mask is required when not eating and drinking.
Jack Palladino, owner of Christopher’s restaurant and the president of the Huntington Village Business Improvement District, said he and other owners are ready to get back to business.
“We’ve gone through three plus months of limited and or no indoor services at all for restaurants, so with this added seating maybe we can make up for some lost revenue,” Palladino said.