City of Sarasota partially closing two streets this weekend to help local businesses

1300 block of Main Street and segment of State Street from parking garage to Lemon Avenue are designated locations

Outdoor dining options have drawn more people to downtown Sarasota this week, Visit Sarasota County has reported. Image courtesy Visit Sarasota County via Twitter

The City of Sarasota will facilitate two experimental partial street closures in downtown Sarasota this weekend “to assist local businesses in the economic recovery from COVID-19,” the city has announced.

The closures will begin at 4 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, May 22-23, and they will be in effect all day Sunday and Monday, May 24-25, in the 1300 block of Main Street (Palm Avenue to Miramar Court) and on State Street from the State Street Garage to Lemon Avenue, a city news release explains.

City staff also is seeking vendors interested in selling or giving away protective masks during the street closures this weekend, the release notes. Such vendors would be stationed at the intersections of Main Street and Palm Avenue and Main Street and Lemon Avenue, the release adds. Staff also is seeking such vendors to operate at designated areas at Lido Beach and Bayfront Park, the release points out.

Interested parties should contact Purchasing General Manager David Boswell at 941-263-6448 or Interim Development Services Director Gretchen Schneider at 941-263-6590 for more details, the release says.

Members of the public are advised to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safe social distancing “to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” the release emphasizes. “City residents are also strongly urged to wear protective masks when leaving home under the City’s local public health emergency declaration,” the release adds.

Signage will be in place at both partial street closures to remind residents and visitors about safe social distancing practices, the release says.

City leaders already have made several efforts to aid local restaurants and businesses “with a speedy reopening and recovery, including waiving building permit fees for improvements to adapt to health concerns; temporarily relaxing the zoning code to encourage and facilitate outdoor dining; and creating a new no-fee, temporary outdoor café permit that allows for expanded outdoor seating, the release explains.

“We’re doing everything we can to help our local business community quickly get back on its feet and adapt to these unprecedented challenges,” said City Manager Tom Barwin in the release. “We’re taking the opportunity to experiment with street closures, and we encourage the public to shop and dine locally and enjoy our beautiful downtown in a safe and responsible way this holiday weekend.”