Charleston restaurant owners, officials see promise with streets closed for outdoor dining

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Downtown Charleston restaurant owners and tourism officials welcome the city’s move to close streets over the weekend to allow for outdoor dining.

City officials announced on Tuesday the closing of Capitol and Hale streets starting Friday. The streets will be closed from Kanawha Boulevard to Lee Street, although a lane on hale Street from Kanawha Boulevard to Virginia Street will remain open to allow access to the South Side Bridge.

Deno Stanley, the owner of Adelphia Sports Bar in Charleston said this will help those restaurants on multiple fronts.

“This brings your revenue up, it allows you to employ more staff and gets you hopefully inching towards 100 percent where you normally might be on occupancy,” Stanley told 580-WCHS.

Stanley, who is also on the state tourism board and the food and service director for the state hospitality association, said this allows restaurants to move the tables that were put away due to social distancing to outside on the streets.

He said he had first approached Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin about this idea in April

“About two weeks ago I approached the mayor again and said ‘we probably need to consider this because things are not moving in a good direction right now,’ Stanley said.

“She was on board with it and that second time around, within that 10 days the decision was made.”

The City of Charleston said restaurants will provide tables, chairs and tents in order to serve customers outside of their establishments. All items will be sanitized in accordance with Kanawha-Charleston Health Department guidelines.

Quarrier Street will have bagged meters that are reserved for those picking up take-out orders. The streets will be closed from Friday at 3 p.m. to Sunday at 9 p.m.

Tim Brady, Charleston CVB CEO told 580-WCHS that the uptick in virus cases doesn’t have to be a step back for businesses if citizens are responsible.

“Maintain social distance, wear your masks indoors, try to limit that close personal contact with people outside of your household,” he said. “If we can all do that, I think we can move forward.”