MESA, Ariz. - Restaurants are one of the hardest-hit businesses in the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic, but one East Valley city is looking to support restaurants by inviting residents to dine outside.
In Downtown Messa, some restaurants don't have outdoor patio space to expand, so officials have has set up an outdoor dining area.
The communal area, with tables chairs, and turf, is located along Main Street. The goal behind it is getting people to support local businesses, and get together in a safe way outside.
"We hope this will get people out and enjoy the Arizona weather and enjoy the food in Mesa," said Mesa Downtown Development Director Tracey Schey.
Officials with the Downtown Mesa Association hope that people who may feel uncomfortable eating at a restaurant patio will grab some takeout from a restaurant, or even pack their own food, and enjoy it at the communal area.
"I think people are trying to support restaurants, but if you aren’t comfortable eating on their patio or in a restaurant, come outside, and it’s a man-made park," said Schey.
Restaurants in the area are excited about this new area.
"You can now get the whole family with all the little restaurants with the food, and have a picnic in the alfresco area," said 12 West Brewing Co. General Manager Chuck Fowler.
Fowler says it has been extremely difficult continuing to pivot during the pandemic, and says while he has a great customer base, the alfresco area could help people feel comfortable supporting restaurants like his again.
"Currently, it looks like there is more life at the end of the tunnel," said Fowler.
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