Tampa closes streets for outdoor restaurant

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TAMPA, Florida – Tampa has closed streets in six different areas of the city to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining capacity as the economy begins to reopen from the pandemic.

  • Road closures are part of Mayor Castor’s local economic recovery plan Lift Up
  • The streets will be closed for 14 days; code, license requirements suspended
  • More Hillsborough County Stories

“Fortunately, the mayor worked with us knowing that we have restrictions on sitting inside,” said restaurant co-owner Joe Guggino. “This will not only allow us to seat additional people, but also keep the distances we need.”

As part of Florida’s Phase 1 reopening, restaurants are only allowed to operate at 25% of capacity indoors while implementing CDC social distancing guidelines. To help restaurants, Mayor Jane Castor has launched a program called the “Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan”.

As part of the pilot project, which began on Monday, some streets in the city will be closed for 14 days to allow restaurants to dine al fresco during regular business hours. The City has temporarily suspended certain code and permit requirements.

Guggino’s restaurant, Forbici, is located in Hyde Park Village and he has already set up a large white tent with chairs and tables on Snow Avenue. The modern Italian restaurant co-owner said he will start dining alfresco on Thursday for weekend evenings and brunch.

“People are ready to come out and mingle,” Guggino said. “They want to be safe, but they want to come to the restaurants that they love and the stores that they love to be and start to get back to normal.”

The SoHo neighborhood has declined the city’s offer to close Howard Avenue daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The other five locations are located in Ybor City, Tampa Heights, West River, and two locations in downtown Tampa.

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