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Tampa closes streets, opens space for restaurant seating

Mayor Jane Castor launches program to help restaurants meet social distancing requirements

TAMPA — For the next two weeks, diners in Tampa will have more room to eat, shop and feel safe.

Mayor Jane Castor launched the “Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan" this week to help restaurants meet social distancing requirements of six-foot separations and other safety measures.

Monday, the city began suspending certain code and permit regulations to allow restaurants and stores to expand onto sidewalks, parking lots, city parking spaces and some streets, which will be closed to allow more space for dining and shopping, according to a city news release.

“We want to lift up our local businesses through this recovery and empower them to re-open responsibly,” said Castor in a statement. “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. 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 program includes “cafe and retail zones” where roads will be closed to encourage outdoor dining and shopping. Restaurants will be mandated to require reservations to avoid crowds. Police will be patrolling to prevent large crowds from gathering.

Individuals aren’t allowed in the zones if they’re not dining or shopping. Businesses that don’t comply with the rule will be removed from the program, the release stated.

The designated zones are:

Downtown: Twiggs St (Tampa Street to Franklin Street)

Hyde Park Village: S Dakota Ave/W Snow (Swann Avenue to S Rome Avenue)

Ybor City: 7th Ave (15th St to 21st St)

SOHO: South Howard Avenue (Morrison Avenue to Bristol Avenue)

The SOHO zone will be in effect from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. At other times, Howard Avenue between Morrison and Bristol avenues will be open to traffic.

See a full list of COVID-19 restaurant requirements in Tampa, visit tampagov.net/liftuplocal.

For the Lift Up Local guidebook, visit https://www.tampagov.net/sites/default/files/public%3A/additionalfiles/lift-up-local-guidebook.pdf

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