Restaurants in the Central West End are expanding their outdoor dining into the streets in an effort to provide safe dining spaces.
Beginning this weekend, diners in the Central West End will have expanded options for enjoying their food and drink outdoors when the neighborhood launches its new Streatery program.
The initiative — a collaborative effort of the Central West End Business Community Improvement District, Central West End businesses and City of St. Louis officials — will shut down parts of Euclid Avenue to vehicular traffic, allowing restaurants to use those sections of the thoroughfare for expanded patio seating. In doing so, the businesses will be able to increase the amount of outdoor dining options so that patrons have safe spaces to eat and drink as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shutter dining rooms across the region.
"Our small businesses are the lifeblood of the Central West End," says Kate Haher, Executive Director of the CWE Business Community Improvement District, in a press release announcing the program. "And thanks to this program, many of them will be able to safely seat more customers."
Since mid-March, the COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry as restaurant and bar owners struggle to balance the needs of their businesses with public health concerns. Though the city has relaxed previous restrictions for indoor dining, many diners and business owners remain hesitant to return to eating inside, as cases of the virus continue to rise.
Streateries, which have popped up across the country, are seen as a potential answer to restaurants' problem of how to seat more guests — and, consequently, remain afloat — while being as safe as possible.
"We know restaurants in particular have suffered during the shutdown, and we want to give them the best possible chance of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing a place for visitors to the CWE this summer," Haher says.
The CWE's Streatery program launches tonight and will run Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m. Diners will check in at the participating restaurant of their choice and be seated accordingly. Masks are required when not eating, and social distancing will be required of all involved.
For more information, including a list of participating restaurants and details about the parts of Euclid Avenue that will be shut down for the Streateries, visit cwescene.com/alfrescodining
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