While City Of Bangor Officials first started talking about the possibility of closing off certain sections of downtown last month, to enable businesses to set up outdoor seating and bring merchandise to out of smaller storefronts to the sidewalk, it had mostly been in the context of theoretical discussions. The thought behind the talk was to give Bangor business owners options to ease social distancing and capacity guidelines set forth by the state in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Well, it was announced today that there will be at least one part of downtown that will shut down to vehicle traffic for the summer, to do just that. According to the Downtown Bangor Facebook Page: 

"As of 4:00 today, the section of Broad Street that runs through West Market Square connecting Main Street to Bangor Alley, will be closed for the summer to provide extra seating opportunities for businesses. Looking forward to a summer outdoors with all of you."

Tyler Collins, Community & Economic Development Officer for the City of Bangor says the move was signed off on by way of an Executive Order of Emergency Regulation from City Manager, Catherine Conlow, earlier today. The minutes from Tuesday's Government Operations Committee Meeting give a little more detail:

"WHEREAS, the section of Broad Street bordering West Market Square is surrounded by a large concentration of restaurants, is used by vehicular traffic far less than most neighboring streets, and can be bypassed by using other streets; WHEREAS, usage of this section of Broad Street as a pedestrian mall, an area for expanded restaurant service, or both will provide more space for restaurants to use outdoor seating to improve social distancing capabilities, thereby facilitating the safe recovery of Bangor and its citizens and visitors from the novel coronavirus; and WHEREAS, adding additional parking spaces in the area will allow for increased social distancing by means of the increased curbside pickup of meals."

City Officials hope the closure will allow businesses and restaurants in the area to get back to operation quicker, by giving them some extra space to work with. Collins noted that the section of street that will be shut down has been closed before for events like the Cool Sounds Concerts and holiday parades. He says it will remain closed, through the summer, until Labor Day, unless there a problem crops up, and they need to open it again.