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Closing streets may help small businesses survive the pandemic

This an abridged version of the original article, entitled “For small businesses, survival may hinge on closing streets,” which first appeared in the Hartford Business Journal.

The hottest table at Jason Fernandez’s restaurants in Tampa is an unusual spot — the middle of 7th Avenue.

Fernandez began reopening his three restaurants this month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said restaurants could serve customers on site, provided indoor capacity is limited to 25% and social distancing measures are followed.

Tampa’s government has launched a two-week test to close some streets to car traffic so that restaurants can expand seating. Local governments, such as Tampa, are rethinking how street space is used to help businesses survive the pandemic. Many states are beginning phased reopenings that significantly restrict how many people may be inside businesses. Some cities are planning to remove curbside car parking or close entire streets so restaurants can shift tables onto streets, making it possible to follow social distancing guidelines and have enough customers to justify operating.

Read the rest of the article here.