Hot summer weather is in full swing, and people are flocking to the downtown core to catch some sun despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Thanks to a new initiative, they’ll also get the chance to eat meals outside and enjoy some music. The City of Fredericton announced Wednesday that it’s launching a partnership with Downtown Fredericton and Business Fredericton North called “Fredericton al fresco.”
The city said the initiative will see almost 60 picnic and bistro-style tables set up in public spaces, on the south side and north side of the city, for use by residents as an extension of available seating at sidewalk cafés and outdoor patios affected by physical distancing.
Fredericton al fresco is also part of the city’s #SupportFredLocal initiative to benefit local businesses and the community during COVID-19.
Tables will be set up in the following locations:
- Phoenix Square – 18 bistro-style tables
- Barracks Square – 21 picnic tables
- The Nashwaaksis Commons – 18 picnic tables
“People do want to sit outside and eat and sometimes our patios are full in some of our locations so I think this offers a new opportunity,” said Mike Babineau, the owner of Cora’s.
At this time, the city of Fredericton has decided not to shut down any streets, but in uptown Saint John there could be some roads closed on a rotational basis, which is something restaurant owners are not in favor of.
“We have a lot of people with mobility issues that come into our restaurant and to close a street and force those people to come from a couple blocks away doesn’t help us,” said Babineau.
However, Downtown Fredericton says alleys may be an alternative.
“We’ve looked at a couple of alleyways that could be closed off or narrowed down for outdoor patios,” said Bruce McCormack, the executive director of Downtown Fredericton Inc.
In the meantime, the city said staff will be on hand to sanitize the tables after each use and monitor physical distancing.
“We’re going to bring in an artist here at Phoenix Square and over at the Barracks and basically have some art going on. We’re going to try and get musicians in both of these locations of the south side,” said Bruce Grandy, City of Fredericton Ward 3 Councillor.
The initiative will run from early June to early September. Hours will vary, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, weather permitting.