One of the hardest hit segments of the American economy during this coronavirus crisis has been the service industry, and local authorities are now working on creative new ways to keep our waiters, bartenders, and cooks safely employed.
Of course, with the current state of social distancing that the CDC and other authorities have recommended, restaurants are struggling mightily under reduced legal occupancies and a general concern for safety among their patrons.
In the Sunshine State, local officials have come up with an ingenious way to work around this.
The city of Tampa on Tuesday closed off multiple streets to allow restaurants and retailers to operate outside as part of a pilot program to gradually reopen the city after weeks of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of Tampa’s Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan, Café & Retail Recovery Zones reserved city roads, parking lots, and sidewalks for some businesses to operate.
The city said the road closures will be in place 24 hours per day over the next two weeks.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the pilot program is intended to “lift up our local businesses through this recovery and empower them to re-open responsibly.”
“By giving our local business owners as many tools and as much space as possible to safely serve guests, we can work together to protect our workforce, our customers, and our community,” she said. “Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need their help to safely and successfully re-open our city and get back to all the things we love–one step at a time.”
The news comes as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues his efforts to cautiously reopen his state, in accordance with the guidance put forth by medical experts.
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