More room for sidewalk cafes raises questions

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Augusta,Ga (WJBF) Sitting outside to eat is what many of those going to restaurants want right now Augusta Commissioners plan to help by giving downtown business more room on the sidewalk.

“The outside part outside of covid its just nice the weather is nice outside it’s just nice to have it in addition to regular dining,” said Liz Lopez, of the Pineapple Ink Tavern on Broad Street.

Coronavirus has slammed downtown and commissioners say allowing restaurants and bars to expand sidewalk space could be a matter of survival.

“If we don’t I have have a feeling it’s going to happen all across the country there’s going to be some businesses that are not going to be able to come back from this,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

On Broad Street businesses will be able to add tables and chairs even in front of their neighbors sidewalk with permission.

And they can also apply to the Sheriff’s Office to block off a side street between Broad and Ellis on Friday and Saturday nights if the restaurants wants to add even more sidewalk seating.

“More than likely that’s a team decision that we are still thinking about if approval does go through it is something we are considering,” said Lopez.

But some city leaders have concerns about blocking off the side streets to add more tables and chairs.

“The side streets, how congested is it going to be we still have pedestrians walking up and down the streets as well this is not just about the businesses it’s also about the city of Augusta as well,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Sidewalk dining is see as safer and more desirable,commissioners are looking to help but for some only so far in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The concerns over the plan to allow side streets to be blocked have commissioners Clarke and Williams saying they want to revisit the issue at their next meeting in June.

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