Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown, joined by members of the Chippewa Alliance, today announced the start of the ‘Chippewa Open Streets’ program, an innovative and safe dining initiative that will enable restaurants to offer outdoor dining service to patrons. From now through Labor Day weekend, a stretch of Chippewa Street, between Delaware Avenue and Franklin Street, will be closed to motor vehicles to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists, and to allow for restaurants and taverns to extend outdoor seating.
“Buffalo restaurants and retailers have been through tremendous hardship over the past few months, and I’m all in for finding creative ways to give diners a safe and social distancing environment outside, while allowing our businesses to access sidewalks, parking lanes and other public space to serve safely and generate additional revenue while their use of indoor space is limited,” stated Mayor Brown. “We have supported our small businesses throughout the pandemic and will continue to provide health guidance to help keep their employees and customers safe. Our continued reopening is dependent on each of us. We must continue doing our part by wearing our face coverings and adhering to social distancing and other health guidelines that will slow the virus spread.”
As part of Mayor Brown’s Re-Open Buffalo Plan and his Small Business Social Distancing Initiative, restaurant operators on Chippewa have worked closely with City officials on this plan that will directly support jobs in the Chippewa District and increase seating capacity for Chippewa Street restaurants and taverns.
Each business has submitted a New York Forward Safety Plan put out by the New York State Department of Health. The plan shows how each establishment will safely operate while practicing New York State social distance guidelines and requirements.
Each application was reviewed and approved by Mayor Brown’s Small Business Social Distancing Advisory Committee (SBDAC). Since its creation in June, the SBSDAC has approved exterior premises use applications for nearly 40 establishments.
Chris Ring, Partner at Rec Room, a popular Live Music Club on Chippewa stated, “We love the idea of businesses building dining patios out into the street. We only have so many good months of weather and a business like ours that was primarily indoors now gets to take full advantage of that.”
Ring goes on to say “Our business had to do a complete 180 so we pivoted to a food focused business model. Having the ability to now seat our patrons outdoors, in an open air environment while properly social distanced, gives all of us the confidence needed to operate and dine safely moving forward.”
This latest development in outdoor dining couldn’t have come at a better time for these local businesses as Governor Cuomo just announced new requirements that say restaurants and bars statewide may only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food. This newly created dining space will allow these businesses to do just that.
Rachel DeDomenico, President of the Chippewa Alliance said “We recently surveyed area residents on their preferences with regards to returning to local restaurants, and the majority said they preferred to eat outdoors. That feedback along with the Mayor’s latest initiative to help small businesses is where we got the idea to expand patios and provide more outdoor dining space. We’re very excited to see the City and Chippewa business owners work together to take this initiative from concept to reality. We encourage residents to head downtown and experience Chippewa’s amazing outdoor dining options for themselves.”
Bars and Restaurants were some of the first businesses to close and will likely be one of the last industries to return to normal moving forward. Jay Manno, who sits on the ReOpen Buffalo board and is also the owner of Frankie Primo’s +39 and Soho Buffalo, NY says “These are extremely difficult times for all bars and restaurants. The fact that the City is willing to work with us by thinking outside the box to try and make things a little better for our businesses just reaffirms why we all started our businesses Downtown in the first place. That kind of support from a local government is rare.”
While the street will remain closed to traffic 7 days a week, local business hours will vary. Reservations are encouraged to help alleviate any congregating on the street. Security will be on site to ensure social distancing guidelines. Please remember to wear your masks when out and stay 6 feet apart when walking to and from each business.
Chippewa Businesses with outdoor patio dining include: