(CNN) — Some restaurants in Indianapolis will have more room for customers when they reopen, thanks to a new initiative from city officials that allows for expanded outdoor dining options.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and city officials on Tuesday announced a plan to temporarily close five major streets to allow for expanded outdoor seating.
The city’s decision comes as states across the nation begin to reopen after implementing stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. Though many businesses, including restaurants, will be able to reopen, new measures will be put in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
“We recognize how critical small businesses are to the livelihood of our residents, of our economy, and of our character,” Hogsett said. “We will clear as many obstacles as we can to make sure they can continue to be an integral part of the Indianapolis economy.”
Indianapolis is not the first to put such a plan in place — many cities have made similar efforts to help businesses survive the pandemic.
In Indianapolis, officials hope closing some streets will allow restaurants to place seating areas on sidewalks and parking spaces. It will also open up more space for pedestrians to walk.
Marion County, where the streets that will be closed are located, will be allowed to open for dine-in service again on Friday, but only outdoor dining. This limits many restaurants on how many patrons they can serve since some only have a small patio area or no outdoor dining options at all.
“These streets are places for major foot traffic already,” City County Councilor Zach Adamson told CNN in an email statement. “Because it’s hard to have this much foot traffic on these corridors AND maintain the recommended distance from other people, the plan is to open select streets to pedestrian traffic only.”
The street closures are expected to continue through the July 4th weekend.
CNN’s Matt McFarland contributed to this report.