The approval from the State Liquor Authority for the expanded footprints for restaurants who serve alcohol came just in time for the first day, June 25, of the temporary closing of Main Street for outdoor dining during the corona virus pandemic.
The approved plan, suggested by Mayor Michael Newhard, was to close Main Street and also Railroad Avenue and Spring Street to vehicular traffic from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
That would allow restaurants to set up tables on what would effectively be a pedestrian mall. And it would also attract visitors to retail stores.
The first step was to obtain the approval of the Village Board of Trustees and it did that on Monday, June 15.
The next major obstacle was to obtain the approval of the New York DOT since Main Street is actually State Route 94. And the final hurdle, an approval by the State Liquor Authority, came through just in time for the four-week program beginning Thursday, June 25.
On June 23 the Mid-Hudson Region also entered Phase 3 which meant restaurants could also resume dining indoors at 50 per cent capacity.
And this past weekend, with the exception of some brief periods of rain, homebound residents, anxious to get back out and enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, came out in droves.
The biggest problem was a longer than usual waiting time for one of the outdoor tables but Newhard described the event as a “dress rehearsal” for the Village as well as the restaurants and a learning experience that would improve in the following three events.
Guidelines permitted seated diners, but not servers, to remove their masks. And menus were posted outside but not left on tables.
In addition to those restaurants along Main Street, Railroad Avenue or Spring Street, there were many restaurants open that already had parking areas and the like available for outdoor dining.